3D ultrasound

Last revised by Andrew Murphy on 23 Mar 2023

Three-dimensional (3D) ultrasound is a technique that converts standard 2D grayscale ultrasound images into a volumetric dataset. The 3D image can then be reviewed retrospectively. The technique was developed for problem-solving (particularly in obstetric/gynecologic exams) and to potentially reduce the operator dependence of ultrasound imaging.

3D ultrasound in gynecologic imaging

3D ultrasound has found a useful application in imaging the coronal plane of the uterus. This format has been found to be useful for:

3D gynecologic imaging can be performed with either the transabdominal or endovaginal approach, but the endovaginal approach results in better quality images. The quality of the 3D images depends on the quality of the 2D images.

The "Z-technique" is used in many institutions that practice 3D gynecologic ultrasound. This technique may be found in detail in reference 2.

Uses of 3D imaging for the uterine adnexa is currently being developed and may have an application in delineating tubal abnormalities, such as hydrosalpinx.

3D ultrasound in obstetric imaging

Applications for 3D ultrasound obstetric imaging are also being developed, such as determining gestational sac location if there is a question of interstitial ectopic pregnancy.

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: normal uterus
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  • Case 2: subseptate uterus
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  • Case 3: septate uterus
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  • Case 4: normal fetal eyes
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  • Case 5: cleft lip and palate (3D)
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  • Case 6: bicornuate uterus with triamniotic dichorionic triplet pregnancy
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  • Case 7: levator ani imaging (3D transperineal ultrasound)
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