Ultrasound Tests: What’s the purpose?

Posted On: March 4, 2020 By CIW

Ultrasound tests can serve a variety of different purposes when it comes to prenatal testing and gynecologic treatment. At our New York City office, we provide a variety of different ultrasound tests performed by our expert technicians. We’ll coordinate with your gynecologist and maternal fetal medicine team to make sure you get accurate results and a comprehensive treatment plan with our high frequency ultrasound tests.

What is High Frequency Ultrasound?

Ultrasound technology works by emitting sound waves to map out an image of the underlying tissues. Ultrasound transducers can perform at different ultrasound frequencies, and there are some benefits to performing ultrasound tests at high frequencies. This is often because higher frequencies have shorter wavelengths which can be more easily absorbed by the tissues and don’t need to penetrate as deeply. This makes it ideal for superficial tissues and structures in the body versus deeper tissues like musculoskeletal structures.

How is an Ultrasound Test Performed?

Ultrasound tests can be performed with different transducers based on your specific testing plan. For example, the transducer can be performed externally on the stomach, or internally in the vaginal canal. Each method has its benefits and your gynecologist or maternal fetal medicine specialist will instruct you on which method you can expect. Each will come with specific steps to follow, and you’ll receive these before your ultrasound appointment.

What Types of Ultrasound Tests are Available?

We’re proud to offer the highest standard of care for high frequency ultrasound imaging in the Manhattan area. Our expert team can guide you through your unique testing process and provide fast, accurate results. The high frequency ultrasound tests our team can provide include:

Nuchal Translucency

The nuchal translucency test measures the nuchal fold thickness. This is an area of tissue at the back of an unborn baby’s neck. Measuring this thickness helps assess the risk for Down syndrome and other genetic problems in the baby.

Anatomical Survey

It’s recommended that all pregnant women have an ultrasound with these principal aims

  • The confirm the fetus is alive
  • Measure the fetal size
  • To detect multiple pregnancies
  • To assess the placental position
  • To assess the amniotic fluid volume
  • To review the basic structures of the fetus
  • To assess the maternal pelvic structures

How many of these types of scans are performed and when during the pregnancy vary by patient and practitioner interpretation of the medical literature, but often occur at least once between 20-22 weeks. A fetal anatomy survey cannot detect all fetal problems and the accuracy of the scan depends on the position of the fetus, the gestation, and maternal build. For larger women with increased body fat, the diagnostic accuracy is reduced.


This determines whether your baby’s growth is normal. Maternal fetal medicine specialists typically recommend it for women during the third trimester of pregnancy.

Cervical Length

A cervical length scan analyzes how long the cervix is and can be used to predict the risk for preterm delivery. The cervical length is most accurately assessed on a transvaginal scan with an empty bladder.

Biophysical Profile

A fetal biophysical profile is a prenatal test used to check on a baby’s well-being. It evaluates the baby’s heart rate, breathing, movements, muscle tone, and amniotic fluid level.

Amniotic Fluid Evaluation with Fetal Position

Pelvic Ultrasound

This is a non-invasive diagnostic exam that produces images which are used to assess organs and structures within the female pelvis. A pelvic ultrasound allows quick visualization of the female pelvic organs and structures including the uterus, cervix, vagina, fallopian tubes, and ovaries.

What Types of Outpatient Procedures Are Available?

We also offer a selection of outpatient procedures using high-frequency guided ultrasound. These include:


Amniocentesis (also called amnio) is a common prenatal test used to diagnose certain birth defects and genetic conditions. Genetic conditions are health conditions and birth defects that are passed on to your baby from you and your partner, as well as your families. Genetic conditions can cause health problems for your baby, so amniocentesis can help us establish a care plan before your baby is born.

Chorionic Villous Sampling

Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) is a prenatal test used to diagnose certain birth defects and genetic abnormalities in your baby. Genetic abnormalities are changes in the genes that are passed down to your baby from you and your partner. These genetic changes can cause health problems for your baby, sometimes resulting in certain chromosomal conditions.

Multifetal Pregnancy Reduction

Sometimes called selective reduction, this option is sometimes indicated when the presence of multiple fetuses makes it less likely that all the fetuses will be born healthy. This is more common when using certain fertility treatments, and a multifetal pregnancy reduction can reduce the risks of complications to your health.

Hysterosonograms (SIS)

An SIS is a GYN ultrasound where a small amount of sterile saline is placed within your uterus to better evaluate the endometrial lining. Your gynecologist may order this test if you have a history of abnormal or irregular vaginal bleeding, or if your gynecologist suspects that you might have polyps or fibroids within your endometrial cavity. SIS is sometimes performed if you have a history of multiple miscarriages or infertility. It can also be used to help determine if your uterus is shaped normally (i.e. that you do not have uterine malformation).

Schedule an Appointment

To meet with our ultrasound team and learn more, we invite you to contact our New York City office by calling or filling out our online form.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do ultrasound test results take?

Although this can vary based on several different factors, it generally is provided on the day of your ultrasound test by the physician team at Carnegie Imaging for Women.

Do amnio tests hurt?

Some women feel discomfort similar to menstrual pain.

What do SIS sonograms cost?

Your specific costs may be different if your insurance provides coverage.

Carnegie Imaging for Women blogs are intended for educational purposes only and do not replace certified professional care. Medical conditions vary and change frequently. Please ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding your condition to receive a proper diagnosis or risk analysis. Thank you!

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