Types Of Scan

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Female Pelvic Scans

Ultrasound is very commonly used to assess and screen the organs within the female pelvis. Common reasons for needing a pelvic ultrasound scan include abnormal vaginal bleeding, such as heavy periods (menorrhagia) and painful periods (dysmenorrhoea), pain and lower abdominal discomfort. During the examination, the following are assessed:

Uterus: The size and shape of the womb (uterus) is assessed for normality and the presence of any fibroids, polyps or other abnormalities. The lining of the womb (endometrium) is assessed for the correct thickness in keeping with the stage of the menstrual cycle

Ovaries: The ovaries can be assessed for size, shape and abnormalities, including signs of Polycystic Ovaries (PCO). They can be screened for the presence of ovarian cysts or masses (both benign and malignant).

The region around the uterus and ovaries (adnexal region) is assessed for the presence of fluid or other abnormalities, for example cysts.

Contraceptive coil/Mirena Assessment (IUCD/IUS): The presence and position of the device can be seen, to ensure it is correctly sited.

Renal Tract Scan

This is a detailed trans-abdominal (external) scan of the kidneys and bladder; including an assessment of how well the bladder empties after passing water. The examination in men and women is the same but in men includes the prostate gland. The scan does require a full bladder and you will be asked to drink 2 pints of water one hour prior to the scan.

We appreciate that many people who require a renal ultrasound scan have difficulty retaining urine. We strive for punctuality; in our recent patient satisfaction survey (carried out in June 2012); over 95% of participants said they were seen within 10 minutes of their appointment time.

A renal ultrasound scan will look at the size, shape and position of the kidneys plus associated structures. It can detect structural abnormalities, for example cysts, masses, obstruction, stones (calculi) and infection within or around the kidneys. The bladder is also assessed to exclude abnormal pathology and emptying.

Upper Abdominal Scan

An upper abdominal scan is a detailed examination of the liver, gallbladder, bile ducts, pancreas, spleen and kidneys. Common reasons for requiring this examination include abnormal liver function tests (LFTs) found in blood tests, upper abdominal pain and discomfort. The abdominal aorta is also assessed for evidence of aneurysm.

An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is a common and potentially deadly condition. Approximately 1 in 20 people in the UK (over the age of 65) will develop an AAA; it is more common in men than women, other risk factors include smoking and a family history.

The aorta is the largest blood vessel in the body and an aneurysm occurs when the wall weakens and a bulge occurs (the aneurysm). This area is weakened and can rupture often resulting in death. In most cases there are no symptoms and if found early enough they can usually be treated by surgery.

Testicular Scan

Common reasons for this examination being requested by your Doctor include:

Epididymitis: This is a common cause of pain and is an inflammation of the epididymis (the tube that sits adjacent to the testicle) most often caused by bacterial infection, but may occur after injury, or from an unknown cause.

Testicular Swelling: Fluid collections and abnormalities of the blood vessels around the testicles can be difficult to distinguish from masses on physical examination and need evaluation by ultrasound. A hydrocele is a collection of fluid between two layers of tissue surrounding the testicle. An abnormal enlargement of the veins which drain the testicles is called a varicocele.

Ultrasound can be used to locate and evaluate masses in the scrotum. Simple benign cysts within the testicle and epididymis are a common finding. Primary cancer of the testicles is the most common malignancy in men between the ages of 20-39, the peak age of incidence. Most testicular swelling or lumps felt on palpation are not cancer, but if anything unusual or different is felt, consultation with your GP is recommended.


The thyroid gland is located in the front of the neck. It consists of two lobes, the right and left lobes; joined by a band of tissue called the isthmus. Ultrasound is a useful tool in the assessment of thyroid diseases; these can include the presence of nodules, cysts and masses. Thyroid cancer is rare, accounting for about 1% of all cancer cases in the UK (nhs.uk).


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