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Frequently Asked Questions

What Should I Do To Be Prepared For An Obstetrical Ultrasound Scan?

What Should I Do To Be Prepared For A Pelvic Or Gynecologic Scan?

Why Should I Drink All That Water?

What Do I Do If My Bladder Gets Too Full Before The Ultrasound Exam?

What Is Ultrasound And How Does It Work?

How Is The Ultrasound Test Done?

What Should I Do To Be Prepared For A Gallbladder Or Abdominal Scan?

Can I Eat Before The Ultrasound Test?

Why Is This Preparation Necessary For An Abdominal Scan?

What Should I Do To Be Prepared For Ultrasound Testing Of The Thyroid, Parathyroid, Breast, Shoulder Or Testes?

My Doctor Has Recommended An Ultrasound Test For Me. What Can I Expect; Will It Hurt Me Or My Baby?

What Can An Ultrasound Test Show In A Pregnant Woman?

Can You See And Tell Color Of Baby's Hair, Or Color Of Eyes?

Can You Determine The Sex Of The Baby?

What Is The Accuracy In The Determination Of Sex?

How Do You Tell The Sex Of The Baby?

Is My Baby Normal?

Does My Baby Have Arms And Legs?

What Types Of Gynecological Disorders Can be Shown By Ulrasound Scan?

Is Ultrasound Useful In Infertility?

What is Sonohysterography?

How Is Ultrasound Useful For Breast Evaluation?

What Are The Other Uses Of Ultrasound Tests?

What Is An Ultrasound Guided Biopsy?

What is 3-D Ultrasound?

Where Is Dr. Malini's Office?

Q: What Should I Do To Be Prepared For An Obstetrical Ultrasound Scan?

A: If you are schedules for an obstetrical ultrasound scan, please drink 32 ounces of water or any liquids 45 minutes prior to your appointment and DO NOT EMPTY YOUR BLADDER until instructed to do so. If you are pregnant and in the first, second, or third trimester of pregnancy, the initial portion of the scan is usually done with a full bladder. After this you are allowed to go to the restroom, and the rest of the examination is performed when you are more comfortable with an empty bladder. This is subject to fetal position and the information required by the referring obstetrician. Examination of the pregnancy by a vaginal scan does not require a full bladder.


Q: What Should I Do To Be Prepared For A Pelvic Or Gynecologic Scan?

A: Please drink 32 ounces of water or any liquids 45 minutes prior to your appointment and DO NOT EMPTY YOUR BLADDER until instructed to do so. The vaginal scan does not require a full bladder. If you are a patient with renal failure, please check with your physician.

Q: Why Should I Drink All That Water?

A: The pelvic organs, certain lower abdominal organs and the lower part of the pregnant uterus can be seen better when you have a full urinary bladder. If your doctor has requested such an examination, the technologist will ask you to drink 32 ounces of water 45 minutes before the examination and not to void until the examination is completed.

Q: What Do I Do If My Bladder Gets Too Full Before The      Ultrasound Exam?

A: Please empty one half cup of water from your bladder to relieve the discomfort. But please keep your bladder full until the exam is completed.

Q: What Is Ultrasound And How Does It Work?

A: Ultrasound works on the same principle as sonar. That is, it uses echoes produced from sound waves to locate distant objects. During World War II, sonar was used to identify submarines. Today, by modifying this technique, high frequency sound waves of the order of three to ten megahertz can be directed into your body through an ultrasound "transducer" in order to identify the major organs. Once the sound wave contacts the organs, they bounce back as echoes; and the time taken to bounce the echoes back is used to produce a picture of the organs on the screen of the ultrasound machine. The sound frequency used is hundreds of times higher than that audible to the human ear.

Q: How Is The Ultrasound Test Done?

A: The ultrasound technologist /Physician scans your pelvis, abdomen, neck or the area of interest by moving the hand-held transducer back and forth across the skin surface. If your doctor has requested an examination of the abdomen, female organs, the pregnant uterus, thyroid, parathyroid, breast or testes, most of the examination will be performed while you are lying on your back. Gel will be applied to you abdomen or the area of interest to provide better contact between the ultrasound transducer and your skin surface. If your kidneys are being examined, you will be asked to lie on your side and rarely on your stomach and the gel will be applied to your body. After completion of the examination, the gel wipes off easily.

The actual scan time is usually between 5 minutes and 30 minutes, although it may take as long as an hour depending on the complexity of the examination. You should also allow time to fill out information sheets, changing clothes, etc.

The films from your examination will be interpreted by the Radiologist, Dr. Malini, who specializes in reading these examinations. Results of the test will be given or sent to your doctor as soon as the reading is complete. This may take 1 to 3 days to be ready, depending on the case. Your doctor will then give the results to you.

Occasionally, during the interpretation, Dr. Malini decides additional pictures are needed. In this case, you will be contacted and requested to return to the ultrasound lab for any views, which the doctor feels, are necessary.


Q: What Should I Do To Be Prepared For A Gallbladder Or Abdominal Scan?

A: If your doctor has requested an examination of the gallbladder or abdomen, please do not eat or drink anything for 8 hours prior to the test, except 32 ounces of water 1 hour before the test. Do not void after drinking the water. Do not drink carbonated beverages for 8 hours prior to the test. If the test is scheduled in the morning, please do not eat or drink anything from midnight the night before and do not eat breakfast. If you are scheduled for an afternoon test of the abdomen, you may have a liquid breakfast without carbonated beverages and do not eat lunch. If you are a diabetic patient, or in renal failure, or have other medical problems, please check with your referring doctor for information.

Q: Can I Eat Before The Ultrasound Test?

     A: If you are scheduled for an obstetrical, pelvic, neck or breast scan in this lab, you can eat. If you are      scheduled for an ultrasound scan of the gallbladder or abdomen, you cannot eat for 8 hours prior to the exam.


Q: Why Is This Preparation Necessary For An Abdominal Scan?

      A: Ultrasound does not penetrate through air, gas or bone. Because of this limitation, some areas are hard to see. If you have much gas in your intestines, the sound waves will be unable to pass through to study the organs behind the gas. Usually the only alternative to  this problem is rescanning at a later date or use another type of medical testing. You should avoid carbonated beverages on the day of your study if your doctor has requested an examination of the upper abdomen.


Q: Whay Should I Do To Be Prepared For Ultrasound Testing Of The Thyroid, Parathyroid, Breast, Shoulder Or Testes?

A: No special preparation is required for ultrasound testing  of the thyroid, parathyroid, breast, shoulder or testes.

Q: My Doctor Has Recommended An Ultrasound Test For      Me. What Can I Expect; Will It Hurt Me Or My Baby?

A: There is no pain or discomfort during the examination.       No x-rays are used for an ultrasound test.
  • Ultrasound is a safe procedure. Thirty years of research and clinical application of diagnostic ultrasound has demonstrated no adverse effects to the human fetus or the human body in the medical diagnostic range.


    Q: What Can An Ultrasound Test Show In A Pregnant Woman?

    A: Ultrasound can detect pregnancy from about the fifth or sixth week as calculated from the last menstrual period. The growth and development of the fetus can be observed. The age of the fetus can be determined by measuring the length of the embryo before the third month. The age of the baby after the third month is determined by measuring the baby's head, body and some bones. This determination of the age of the baby is important when the exact duration of the pregnancy is not known and an approximate date of delivery is to be determined or a repeat cesarean section is to be performed. Ultrasound is useful for the evaluation of babies of high-risk pregnant mothers such as those with diabetes, high blood pressure or other medical problems.

    Twin and multiple births can be shown fairly early in pregnancy. The growth of twins can be monitored.

    This test is also useful to determine the location and size of the placenta and in pregnant patients with vaginal bleeding. Many placental abnormalities can be diagnosed, such as Placenta Previa, in which the placenta obstructs the birth canal.

    Other problems where ultrasound is used in the diagnosis of fetal demise (fetal death), miscarriages, or ovarian cysts complicating pregnancy.

    Ultrasound is very useful in the detection of many congenital abnormalities, including some of the malformations of the fetal brain, heart, spine, kidneys, stomach and bladder.

    In cases where the placenta is not able to transfer the normal quantities of oxygen and nutrients to the fetus, causing the baby's growth to slow down, ultrasound can detect this growth retardation when repeated at intervals during the pregnancy.



    Q: Can You See And Tell Color Of Baby's Hair, Or      Color Of Eyes?

    A: No.


    Q: Can You Determine The Sex Of The Baby?

    A: Starting from the 14th week of pregnancy, we may be able to determine the sex of the baby, provided the position of the baby permits us to do so.


    Q: What Is The Accuracy In The Determination Of Sex?

    A: The majority of the time we are correct in our diagnosis of the sex. However, we do not guarantee this diagnosis 100%. We can be wrong in the prediction of fetal sex due to many reasons. Therefore, we do not recommend that you paint the baby's room a certain color. If you wish to do so , you do it at your own risk.


    Q: How Do You Tell The Sex Of The Baby? (Yes, my patients' husbands have asked me this question many times)

    A: We tell the sex of the baby by looking between the baby's legs for external male or female genitalia.


    Q: Is My Baby Normal?

    A: A normal ultrasound is very reassuring that your child will be most probably healthy; but a normal ultrasound never quarantees that you child will be perfect. Due to certain limitations of ultrasound, many physical, mental and developmental abnormalities cannot be detected. Some large physical abnormalities can be missed due to the position of the baby or stage of development.


    Q: Does My Baby Have Arms And Legs?

    A: We can usually demonstrate the presence of all four arms and legs and the major long bones; but many times we may not be able to see an extremity due to position or the stage of pregnancy or an obese patient. Hands and feet are usually shown. All ten fingers and toes are usually not demonstrated. This is due to the baby's position and the crowded condition in the uterus, and limitations of ultrasound.


    Q: What Types Of Gynecological Disorders Canbe Shown By Ulrasound Scan?

    A: Ultrasound can be used to detect fibroids (tumors arising from the uterus), tumors from the ovaries, ovarian cysts, abscesses, and certain other problems. An intrauterine contraceptive device can be located in the uterus. Some reasons for pelvic pain can be diagnosed. This test may be useful in patients with endometriosis.


    Q: Is Ultrasound Useful In Infertility?

    A: Yes. Ultrasound can be used to detect and monitor ovulation and maturation of follicles. It is useful to see the shape and size of the uterus, and to detect any gross problems in the pelvis that may be visualized by sonography. Ultrasound is extremely important in IVF and assisted reproduction procedures.


    Q: What is Sonohysterography?

    A: Sonohysterography, also called Hysterosonography is the introduction of saline into the uterus through a catheter and performing a vaginal scan to visualize the uterine cavity. This is very useful for the evaluation of uterine polyps, fibroids, endometrial cancer, undiagnosed vaginal bleeding and in patients on Tamoxifen therapy.



    Q: How Is Ultrasound Useful For Breast Evaluation?

    A: Ultrasound can be very useful in the evaluation of breast problems by the detection of cysts. Even though a mammogram (breast x-ray) is the examination of choice for studying the breast, breast ultrasound can be used to complement a mammogram, particularly in patients with fibrocystic changes, pregnant patients and in nursing mothers.


    Q: What Are The Other Uses Of Ultrasound Tests?

    A: Ultrasound can be usefully employed for thediagnosis of gallstones, some liver problems, pancreatic masses, cysts or tumors of the kidneys, some thyroid or parathyroid conditions, or for the diagnosis of some causes of abdominal pain. The abdominal aorta is easily imaged by this test. It is also used for evaluation of the heart, eyes, vascular system and testes.


    Q. What Is An Ultrasound Guided Biopsy?

    A: This is a procedure usually performed on the breast, thyroid or other organs. The lump or abnormal area is sampled or aspirated by a fine needle to obtain tissue or fluid to send to the pathologist for diagnosis.


    Q: What is 3-D Ultrasound?
           A: This is the use of digital computer technology to  reconstruct the ultrasound image in 3 planes. This type of imaging is has the potential for important applications in Obstetrics, Gynecology, Abdominal, Neck and Cardiac imaging.

           Q: Where Is Dr. Malini's Office?
          A: It is in Southwest Houston. The directions and map are at directions.html

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