As far as ultrasound is concerned, 4D ultrasound (also referred to as live 3D ultrasound or 4B-mode) is the latest ultrasound technology - the fourth dimension means length, width, and depth over time. 4D Ultrasound takes 3D ultrasound images and adds the element of time to the progress so that a moving three-dimensional image is seen on the monitor. A 4D scan takes the same amounts of time as a 2D or 3D scan; the difference is the ultrasound equipment being used. One advantage of a 4D fetal ultrasound to a 2D-mode is that parents can see how their baby will generally look like. However, there are different opinions over the medical advantages.|
To scan a 3D ultrasound image, the probe is swept over the maternal abdomen. A computer takes multiple images and renders the 3D picture. With 4D imaging, the computer takes the images as multiple pictures while the probe is hold still and a 3D image is simultaneously rendered in real time on a monitor.
In most cases, the standard 2D ultrasound is taken, and then the 3D/4D scan capability is added if an abnormality is detected or suspected. The 3D/4D sonogram is then focused on a specific area, to provide the details needed to assess and diagnose a suspected problem. A quick 4D scan of the face of the fetus may be performed at the end of a routine exam, providing the parents with a photo.
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