What is ultrasound? Ultrasound is an instrument that utilizes sound waves to visualize various internal structures and operates on the same principle as sonar on a submarine. In gynecology, ultrasound is used to evaluate conditions such as abnormal bleeding, uterine fibroids and ovarian cysts.
Sonohysteroscopy or Fluid-contrast Ultrasound
What is fluid-contrast ultrasound (FCUS)? FCUS is a special type of ultrasound which helps evaluate the endometrium (lining of the uterus or womb) and any abnormalities in the uterine cavity (the space inside the womb). Polyps and fibroids are commonly seen with the FCUS and cannot be seen with plain ultrasound.
What happens next?
If any abnormality (lesion) such as a polyp or fibroid is seen, a hysteroscopy is scheduled to be done at a later date to remove the lesion. Briefly, hysteroscopy is a surgical procedure performed as an outpatient under a light general anesthetic (patient is asleep). A thin telescope-like instrument is inserted through the cervix (no incisions are necessary), and the inside of the uterine cavity visualized and the lesions removed under direct vision. The “hospital stay” is usually just a couple of hours after the surgery is completed, and there is minimal discomfort after the procedure.
In the case no lesion is seen with FCUS, an endometrial biopsy may be done immediately after the ultrasound is completed. If a paracervical nerve block was not utilized for the FCUS (see above), one is usually given just prior to the biopsy. A thin plastic tube is inserted into the uterine cavity, suction applied, and a small amount of tissue removed and sent to the laboratory for evaluation. Most patients report minimal discomfort (occasionally moderate menstrual-like cramping) which only lasts a few seconds. It will usually take several days to get the final results. Assuming no evidence of pre-cancer or cancer is found, hormonal therapy will frequently eliminate the abnormal bleeding. If the unlikely happens and cancer is diagnosed, further therapy will be necessary to treat the condition.
Advancing technology has allowed the development of minimally-invasive techniques which frequently can be done in an office setting and are associated with minimal discomfort. Additionally, by diagnosing conditions early we are frequently able to prevent a problem before it occurs.
The information provided by Advanced Healthcare for Women and E. Daniel Biggerstaff, III, M.D. is for informational purposes only. As each woman is unique, do not rely on this information for diagnosis and treatment. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the content and advise that you see a qualified Health Care Professional for individual needs and care.