Ultrasound scanning has been used for many years in the medical field in order to check up on the progress of the developing embryo in a mother’s womb. By using a probe or transducer, high-frequency sound waves are sent through the body and reflected back, measured, analyzed, and the data is used to create flat, monochrome images. This is the basic process used to create images of internal organs or fetuses inside a person’s body. The technology has evolved and now we have different options and more sophisticated ways of using this process.

2D Ultrasounds

These are the most traditional ultrasounds which produce two-dimensional monochrome images of a fetus. Even with just the basic 2D Ultrasound, you can already see a lot of details such as the developmental stage of a fetus, its bone structure, organs, a few facial details, and the sex of the baby. An operator can move the probe in different positions in order to capture images on different planes, but it will still only be a flat image. Videos are also available for 2D ultrasounds.

3D Ultrasounds

3D ultrasounds are an advancement of 2D ultrasounds taking the technology a step further. By gathering volume data using special probes and acquiring reflected waves at different angles, 3D ultrasounds can create three-dimensional still-images of a developing baby with the help of special computing software. This accumulated information is analyzed and displayed in a rendered image, multi-planar format, or tomographic mode. The details displayed in a 3D ultrasound are much greater and clearer than that of 2D ultrasounds. This technology allows fine details such as the baby’s skin to be seen. Doctors have used this technology to further assess any complications a 2D ultrasound may initially reveal. It allows diagnoses of any fetal, skeletal or neural tube defects to be viewed and scrutinized, possibly giving a chance for early treatment. Thankfully, with the advances in today’s fetal imaging market, a 3D sonogram is now very affordable.

4D Ultrasounds

4D ultrasounds are essentially 3D ultrasounds in movement. They are video renditions of the images captured by 3D ultrasounds. These ultrasounds allow people to view the live motion of fetal movement, the blood flow from the heart, and the motion other of internal organs. A lot of companies advertise these videos as keepsakes for expectant mothers but the medical community is still in debate in regards to the safety of these procedures for novelty keepsakes.

5D Ultrasounds

In an effort to push the boundaries of ultrasound technology, Samsung has introduced the Samsung WS80A Elite Ultrasound to improve the process of these scans. 2D scans capture axial images, 3D relies on gathering volume data, 4D combines time and volume scans, whereas 5D changes the workflow to try and automate the process to maximum efficiency. 5D ultrasound technology aims to make the process less time consuming by auto-populating the results after a scan. The operator receives assistance in more complex exams or has the entire examination automated. The process of searching through volume data and conducting measurements is standardized therefore improving consistency. These ultrasounds are also better for examining the heart and other organs, allowing several different views to be created simultaneously. This new technology is allowing doctors to screen and diagnose congenital heart disease, view the central nervous system, and get more accurate measurements. 5D ultrasounds are purely for medical use, are partially automated, and allow for quicker and more detailed scans.

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