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
Contraceptive coil/Mirena Assessment (IUCD/IUS): The presence
and position of the device can be seen, to ensure it is correctly
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
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.
Common reasons for this examination being requested by your Doctor
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).