High resolution ultrasounds are also known as targeted or level II ultrasounds, and are screening examinations that are performed to find out detailed information regarding the growth and development of a fetus. The high resolution images that are produced from this screening method allow physicians to look closely at specific organs of the fetus if necessary and identify whether there are any abnormalities.
These types of ultrasounds are very safe and offer a means to examine the baby’s health without being harmful to either the mother or the baby. High resolution ultrasounds can help the doctor discover whether there is any risk of certain medical conditions in the baby. Some of the conditions that can be identified through high resolution ultrasound include:
High resolution ultrasounds are usually conducted at some point during the second trimester. Some doctors only choose to have it performed on certain patients if a follow-up test is necessary, while other doctors choose to offer this type of ultrasound for all patients.
High resolution ultrasounds are typically recommended for mothers over the age of 35 or for those who have had a history of delivering babies with birth defects or genetic conditions. A high resolution ultrasound can also be suggested if an abnormality was identified on a previous ultrasound, or if the mother has specific health conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes that could potentially increase any risk of complications.
How is the High Resolution Ultrasound Procedure Performed?
Typically performed between 16 and 18 weeks gestation, a high resolution ultrasound is performed similarly to a traditional ultrasound. The biggest difference between them is that the information that is generated from a high resolution ultrasound is a lot more detailed compared to a standard ultrasound.
Like a typical ultrasound, high resolution ultrasounds are more effective if the mother has a full bladder. A gel is applied to the mother’s abdomen to help pick up the sound waves generated by the device. A detailed image of the baby is identified when the sound waves reflect off the structures inside the mother’s body.
A “transducer” is moved over the abdominal area to get clear, concise images of the baby’s organs, spine, brain, extremities, and placenta, which can all be specifically measured to find out if the baby is growing normally. The overall procedure typically lasts anywhere between 30 to 45 minutes.
If any abnormalities are detected through this procedure, steps can be taken early on to rectify them, if possible.