When you hear the terms ultrasound, you likely think of the external type of ultrasound that is typically associated with pregnancy scans – but, did you know that there are actually two other types of ultrasound scans?

In this blog, we’ll be discussing each three of these in more detail, covering the differences between them, how they work and when they may be required. Read on to learn more about which type of ultrasound you may expect to receive depending on your condition.

The Different Types of Ultrasound

External Ultrasound Scan

An external ultrasound scan is the one that is most commonly used during pregnancies to examine an unborn baby in the womb.

A lubricating gel is placed onto your stomach, allowing a small handheld probe to then be placed on your skin and glide smoothly across it, ensuring that there is continuous contact between the two – this allows an accurate image to be created of the inside of your body.

As well as being used during pregnancies, this type of scan can also be used to examine other internal organs in the tummy and pelvic area (such as the liver or kidneys), along with other tissue that can be examined through the skin (such as muscles or joints).

Other than experiencing some mild discomfort due to the lubricating gel and probe being cold against your skin, an external ultrasound is widely considered to be painless.

Internal Ultrasound Scan

As its name suggests, an internal ultrasound scan instead involves a small probe being inserted into the body. This allows doctors to look more closely at organs inside the body, such as the ovaries or prostate gland.

The ultrasound probe is not much larger than a finger and will have a sterile cover over it. It is then gently inserted either inside the vagina (also known as a transvaginal ultrasound) or inside the rectum – you will be asked to lay on either your back or your side with your knees drawn up to your chest for easier insertion.

This type of ultrasound may cause you some discomfort, but should not cause you any pain.

Endoscopic Ultrasound Scan

An endoscopic ultrasound scan is another type of internal ultrasound, although this type is instead used to examine areas such as your oesophagus or stomach.

This involves feeding an endoscope, which has a light and ultrasound device attached to its end, through your mouth and down your throat.

To keep discomfort to a minimum, you will usually be given a local anaesthetic spray to numb your throat, along with a sedative to keep you calm during the procedure and reduce movement and risk of injury to yourself. This is the most uncomfortable type of ultrasound and may cause some minor side-effects, including feeling sick and having a sore throat, however these should soon subside.

Private Ultrasound Clinic

Here at Duality Health Ltd, we offer a wide range of private ultrasound services to benefit you, all of which are available with GP follow-up appointments and provide reports within 24 hours of having your scan done.

To arrange your private abdominal scan, then don’t hesitate to book your appointment today.