SOPHISTICATED IMAGES: Advances in diagnostic ultrasound mean specialists can detect and manage a greater range of issues in pregnancy.
Advances in diagnostic ultrasound now enable obstetricians and gynaecologists to detect many more things during pregnancy, a lot earlier.
The result has been a significant reduction in risk to both mother and child and the ability to tailor treatment and management plans.
“We’re now able to see a lot more, a lot earlier,” obstetrician Dr George Angus said.
“Whereas 20 years ago ultrasound could detect basic flows, it can now measure blood flows to the baby itself and its organs.
“High risk can be evaluated, and treatments expedited or delayed, thus minimising risks and providing extra management tools.”
Dr Angus cited the example of a patient who had a big bleeding incidentat 29 weeks into the pregnancy.
“Twenty years ago ceasarian section would have been almost automatic,” Dr Angus noted.
“This year I did an ultrasound and was able to detect that the baby was unaffected and so the mother stayed pregnant.
“This gave the baby more time to mature in utero, and thus reduced the likelihood of disabilities and related intensive care issues.”
Advances in ultrasound diagnosis have resulted in two major improvements for the well-being of women in general.
The first involves endometriosis, a painful heavy bleeding due to the lining of the uterus being in the abdomen or uterus muscle.
“Ultrasound can now see where that’s involving the bowel and bladder and enabling us to start treatments earlier,” Dr Angus said.
The second area of advancement is 3D/4D ultrasound for assessing pelvic floor function.
“Diagnostic ultrasound developments now mean our approach can be more precise and thus management of pelvic floor treatments after childbirth can be more tailored to defects.”
Dr Angus has been a practising obstetrician and gynaecologist for 20 years, is based at Newcastle Private Specialist Centre and holds a Diploma of Diagnostic Ultrasound.
He is a graduate of The University of Sydney and completed his specialty training at Royal North Shore Hospital, UKand John Hunter Hospital.