Transvaginal Ultrasound

SJRA Imaging Services

A transvaginal ultrasound is a type of pelvic ultrasound used by healthcare providers to examine the female reproductive organs. A transvaginal ultrasound procedure sends sound waves through a probe inserted into the vagina. The ultrasound probe is placed in the vagina and can evaluate the bladder, uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, cervix, and vagina. This is an internal examination. The ultrasound test takes about 30-60 minutes. A transabdominal ultrasound is an alternative option.

Transvaginal ultrasound is usually done if an abnormality is found during a pelvic or abdominal exam, there is pelvic pain or unexplained vaginal bleeding, to check for ovarian cysts or uterine fibroids, checking placement of an IUD or for evaluation of infertility.

Transvaginal ultrasound may also be used during pregnancy for evaluation of the cervix or placenta, to identify the source of any abnormal bleeding or to check for possible miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.

Preparing for Transvaginal Ultrasounds

In most cases, a transvaginal ultrasound requires little preparation. Once you arrive at the testing site, you are asked to remove your clothes from the waist down and put on an exam gown.

You will lie down on the examination table and place both of your feet in stirrups. The ultrasound probe will be covered with a condom and lubricant and then inserted into the vagina two to three inches. You may feel pressure during your exam. Once the probe is inside, sound waves bounce off your internal organs and transmit pictures of the inside of your pelvis onto a monitor. The technician will slowly move the ultrasound probe while inside. This will provide a comprehensive picture of your organs.

During the ultrasound images are saved and will be analyzed by a radiologist. The results will be sent to your healthcare provider. Transvaginal ultrasound helps diagnose multiple conditions including:

  • cancer of the reproductive organs
  • cysts
  • fibroids
  • pelvic infections
  • ectopic pregnancy
  • miscarriage
  • placental abnormalities
  • fetal birth defects
  • bladder abnormalities

There are virtually no risks associated with a transvaginal ultrasound, although you might experience some discomfort. Results are typically ready in 24 hours.

If you can’t tolerate a transvaginal ultrasound, you may have a transabdominal ultrasound. This involves applying gel to your stomach and using a hand-held device to view the pelvic organs. This is also an option for pediatric patients when pelvic images are needed. Transabdominal ultrasound may also be used for male patients.

All of our centers are fully accredited by the American College of Radiology.