Today, diagnostic imaging techniques have become a fundamental tool to accurately assess and diagnose all types of medical conditions and pathologies. Of course, the specialty of gynecology is no exception, so that specialists rely on the use of these techniques both to confirm their diagnoses and to rule out pathologies.
Next, we discuss which imaging techniques are most frequently used in gynecology, in addition to their advantages and disadvantages, and in which cases each of them is used.
Among the different imaging techniques, ultrasonography (also called ultrasound scan) is the most used in gynecology, which uses ultrasound to obtain images of the area to be examined.
In this way, when performed by a specialist trained and experienced in its use, it allows the precise diagnosis of most of the pathologies and conditions that are treated in this specialty, on many occasions without requiring other images.
In addition, it is a safe and harmless test, easy to access and low cost, which is quick to perform and whose results are obtained quickly.
However, ultrasonography is not enough to evaluate certain pathologies and injuries, in which case it is necessary to resort to other imaging techniques such as computerized tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In these cases, these other techniques complement or replace ultrasonography in the study of these pathologies.
Computerized Tomography (CT)
As we have already commented previously, computerized tomography (CT) is one of the diagnostic imaging techniques used in some more complex cases in which doubts remain after conventional ultrasonography, especially to characterize lesions that are not completely evaluable by ultrasound.
The advantages of computerized tomography are that it offers excellent spatial resolution and good contrast resolution, and it is also a quick test to perform.
However, it uses ionizing radiation (X-rays) so its use is very limited (especially in pregnant patients, or those of childbearing age). Another drawback is that there are patients who may be allergic to the iodinated contrast used in this test.
The greatest usefulness of CT is in the differential diagnosis of some gynecological emergencies, in evaluating the extra-pelvic involvement of adnexal neoplasms and in the preoperative study of urinary tract abnormalities.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Another technique that is also reserved for those cases in which an ultrasound scan is not enough is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which offers excellent contrast resolution and greater visual field, allowing to obtain very detailed and clear images of the interior of the body both in 2D as well as 3D.
In addition, in those cases in which there are no contraindications, it is a harmless test for the body.
However, it is a slow test to perform, with limited availability and high cost. As we mentioned earlier, it also has some contraindications, in which case it cannot be carried out: patients with pacemakers or other devices that are affected by magnetism or with prostheses or other metal objects housed in the body. In some cases, contrast (gadolinium) cannot be used, this is the case of pregnant women, patients with kidney failure, or allergic to said contrast. In these cases, it is still possible to perform the test without contrast, although this makes the diagnosis difficult.
Magnetic resonance imaging is often used in the study of adnexal lesions that are complex to ultrasonography, deep pelvic and extra-pelvic endometriosis, adenomyosis, uterine malformations, local staging of endometrial, cervical, and vaginal neoplasms, and in the evaluation of multiple or extra-pelvic fibroids.
Diagnostic tests and gynecological examinations at Vithas Xanit Internacional
Whether you need to go for a routine check-up or for a specific reason, remember that at Vithas Xanit Internacional you will find the best specialists who, together with our cutting-edge technology, allow us to offer you the most exhaustive tests and reviews, thus obtaining the most accurate diagnoses. Contact us for more information or make an appointment.