Four-dimensional ultrasound is the latest sonogram technology.
"That's the three dimensions in space as well as motion or real time. Real time is the fourth dimension," said Dr. Greg Lyman, an OB/GYN for Rush Medical Group in Meridian.
Dr. Lyman compared ultrasound technology to sonar on a submarine.
"We use ultrasonic waves that are projected onto the baby or onto a surface and they are reflected back," Lyman said. "The computer then takes those images and the quality of that reflected sound and produces the images on the screen for us."
Lyman said unlike x-rays and CAT scans, there is no potential harm to a patient from ultrasound.
"It has opened up a window for us to look at the baby in utero without presenting a lot of risk or any risk to that infant," he said.
And it enhances the ability of doctors to detect structural defects in a baby.
"It could make a difference, too, in the areas where you may not be equipped to handle those problems at birth, so that the patient could get transferred to a higher level center, an academic center, where those capabilities and techniques are available immediately," said Lyman.
Dr. Lyman said the advancements in ultrasound technology extend the benefits of having a sonogram far beyond just knowing whether it's a boy or a girl.
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