Who will perform the scan?
Our fully qualified team of Sonographers at The Scanning Room are all accredited by the Fetal Medicine Foundation and are either registered with the Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC) or the Nursing Midwifery Council (NMC) and all currently work within the NHS.
We cannot stress enough about the importance of having a fully trained sonographer to perform your scan. The promotion of a ‘bonding scan’ can only be backed up with the reassurance your baby is developing normally and this can only be achieved by a sonographer who is fully trained to at least a Post grad Diploma (PgD) in obstetric ultrasound and gynaecology.
Do I need to be referred by my Midwife, Obstetrician or GP?
We don’t need a referral from a health care professional for any of the scans we perform. Our scans are available to you when you feel you need them for reassurance and bonding. If we feel for whatever reason we need to refer you to a health care professional, we will complete the necessary report and dependant on the urgency make the referral for you.
What happens if an abnormality is found?
The majority of our scans are non-diagnostic, however we have a duty of care to you and your baby to inform you if an abnormality is found or concern raised. We will discuss with you our concerns but may not be able to necessarily diagnose the problem, this will often require specialist input (as you would find with any NHS scan). We will complete a report with our findings and refer you to your local hospital for further review and follow up and give you any support you need.
Who can I bring along to the scan?
Family and friends are more than welcome to come and share this amazing experience with you; the images are projected to a TV screen for everyone to see. For comfort we suggest a maximum of 5 people in the room with, however we can discuss any particular needs you have. Children are more than welcome to attend but must be supervised at all times.
Do I need a full bladder for the scan?
With our early scans we like you to have a fullish bladder (go to the toilet about an hour before the scan then drink 400-500mls) to improve views. Otherwise an empty bladder is fine for all the other scans we perform. If any specific prep is needed before a scan we will confirm that at the time of booking.
How far in advance should I book?
Where possible it is best to book in advance to ensure you have the appointment that fits in with you. We are really flexible so always give us a call to find out what we have available!
What do I need to bring with me?
You should bring your maternity notes with you if you have them.
When can you perform an early scan?
We like you to be at least 7 weeks pregnant for an early scan to be performed to ensure the fetal heart pulsations can be seen and everything is developing as it should be and be in the correct place. Any earlier the scan findings can leave you in an inconclusive status (which is not nice!) as we need to clearly see the baby’s heart beating to confirm viability. With that being said we can perform these scans earlier (from 5+4 weeks) if there is a particular clinical concern such as an ectopic pregnancy.
When can you find out the gender of the baby?
We perform our gender scans from 16 weeks gestation with very high accuracy (we check the gender in a few different views). We like to be sure and not guess at what we think so we stick to 16 weeks. If the baby is not in a great position we will do all we can to get your little one to move and be patient as they usually move! If in the rare event we cannot clearly see the gender we will arrange another scan for you free of charge
What is a 3D/4D scan?
A 4D scan enables you to see your baby in a 3 dimensional view, so being able to see the smiles, frowns and yawns are all possible. The 4th dimension adds real time so the 3D images are turned into a real time video so you can see what your baby is up to at that moment!
When is the best time to have a 4D scan?
We can perform 4D scans between 26-32 weeks gestation, we find the best time is 27-29 weeks due to the size of the baby and optimum amount of amniotic fluid present. Prior to 26 weeks the baby may appear more skeletal due to its size, after 32 weeks the natural reduction in amniotic fluid and baby’s cosy position may not allow clear images.
If you are outside of the suggested range, we will try everything we can get the best possible images, however this may not always be possible.
For a multiple pregnancy the best gestation is between 22-26 weeks.
Is a 4D scan safe?
We work to strict safety guidelines suggested by BMUS with all of our scans and have adopted the A.L.A.R.A protocol when scanning: As Low as Reasonably Achievable.
Research has shown that ultrasound has not been found to pose any adverse effect to you or your baby. The same frequency is used for a 2D scan performed within the hospital setting.
Does the position of my baby affect the 4D scan?
During a 4D scan the ideal position for your baby is to be lying on its back looking at the ceiling, from your previous scans I am sure you have experienced a naughty baby that does not want to help! If this is the case we will try a variety of techniques to try to get your baby moving into the optimum position. It could be going for a brief walk, drinking something cold/fizzy or eating a small snack. We may try a number of times during the scan session to give the baby the best chance to move.
If despite our best efforts on the first attempt your baby does not move we will book a further scan free of charge.
How should I prepare for the scan?
You should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing for your ultrasound exam. You may need to remove any clothing in the area to be scanned; this will be discussed with you at the beginning of the appointment.
How is the scan performed?
During the scan we will discuss your clinical symptoms and ask you to demonstrate or describe the mechanisms of your injury, point to areas of tenderness and show us if there are any symptomatic changes with movement.
Once in the correct position the sonographer will apply a water-based gel to the area of the body being studied. The gel will help the transducer make secure contact with the body and eliminate air pockets between the transducer and the skin that can block the sound waves from passing into your body. The transducer is placed on the body and moved back and forth over the area of interest until the desired images are captured.
What will I experience after the scan?
Ultrasound examinations are painless and non-invasive, occasionally pressure may need to be exerted on the area scanned but easily tolerated by most patients. The musculoskeletal ultrasound scan will usually be completed within 15 to 30 minutes but may occasionally take longer.
When the examination is complete, the clear ultrasound gel will be wiped off your skin. Any portions that are not wiped off will dry to a powder. The ultrasound gel is water based and does not stain or discolour clothing.
After an ultrasound examination, you should be able to resume your normal activities immediately.
Who interprets the findings and how to I get them?
Our sonographers are specifically MSK trained specialists and will create a report with the findings for you to take away and send a copy to your healthcare provider who requested the scan. We will discuss our findings with you but also suggest you return to your healthcare professional to follow up with our findings.
What can’t you see with an MSK Scan?
Ultrasound has difficulty penetrating bone and therefore, can only see the outer surface of bony structures and not what lies within. Visualising internal structure of bones or certain joints, other forms of imaging such as MRI are typically used.
There are also limitations to the depth that sound waves can penetrate; therefore, deeper structures in larger patients may not be seen easily.
Ultrasound has not proven useful in detecting whiplash injuries or most other causes of back pain.
How is a gynaecological scan performed?
The preferred method of scanning is a transvaginal scan as this allows us to get closer to the uterus and asses the ovaries.
We will need you to undress below the waste and we will position you on the couch with your knees bent, whilst maintaining your dignity at all times. A thin probe is inserted into the vagina; you will experience cold gel and gentle pressure whilst the probe is moved side to side. First and foremost we take great care to perform this scan and reduce any discomfort where we can.
Can I self-refer for a gynae scan?
Yes you can, we do not need a referral from a healthcare professional, we will ask you reason for needing the scan so that we can ensure we are offering you the right service.
How do I get my scan results?
We will talk through what we see during the scan and then create a report with our findings which will be fully discussed with you once we are finished. If any follow up is required we will document this on the report and discuss with you.
Follow up will most likely involve seeing your GP.
What if a problem is found?
If we find any problems during the scan these will be discussed with you and pictures provided to show your healthcare professional. We will create a report with our findings for you to take to your GP for further follow up as required.
We strive to provide the highest possible standards of care and pride ourselves on our high quality and customer service. However there may be times where you feel that our service has fallen below the standard you expect. We will do our best to resolve the issue, seek to understand why things went wrong and ensure that appropriate action is taken to reduce the risk of them being repeated.
Initially a phone call made to our office explaining the problem and giving some basic information to a member of our office team. The next step will be the sonographer that carried out the examination will be asked to review the report and images. We would then like you to put the complaint in writing for the attention of the Lindsay Grisbrook.
A thorough investigation will be carried out and a written response returned to you within 4 weeks. We do ask that the patient initiates the complaint. We can only correspond with the patient, and not family members. In exceptional circumstances we can discuss the complaint with a nominated person but only with the express written consent by the patient. This is to comply with data protection.
If you feel in any way that your examination was not satisfactory, or you are unhappy with any part of the process, we must receive your comments, within Seven days from your examination date. The Scanning Room is committed to excellent customer care and would welcome any comments from you that can be used to improve our services.
Diagnostic or non-diagnostic/elective scans – what’s the difference?
A non-diagnostic scan should be avoided, it suggests a number of things from the person scanning not having a formal training/education in ultrasound or being a health care professional. As a health care professional we have professional duty of care to both the woman and the baby to be able to identify and report any incidental findings or problems seen during the scan – a non-diagnostic scan will ignore these because they are not able to identify any problems. They may also not be professionally insured and not up to date with fundamental safety guidelines. The ultrasound equipment (diagnostic) is not being used as per manufacturer’s guidelines.
All of our scans are performed by fully qualified health care professionals with either a midwifery, nursing or radiography background. Our team act upon their duty of care when any problems or incidental findings are identified, they will fully discuss their findings, write a clinical report and refer you to the appropriate department for follow up.
Our ultrasound machines are set up and operated to the manufacturer’s guidelines with settings in keeping with safety guidelines for ultrasound scanning.
Patient welfare and 4D scanning services
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) who regulate both the public and private sector of healthcare want the public to be aware about the safety guidelines for 4D scanning/ souvenir scanning.
The British Medical Ultrasound Society (BMUS) in their statement about the safety of souvenir scanning and ‘keepsake’ scanning which can be read in full at www.bmus.org/obstetric-pregnancy/ . In short the person performing the scan must be fully qualified and scans should not be performed solely for souvenir images. Souvenir images or recordings for parents to keep are reasonable if they are produced during a diagnostic scan – provided it does not require ultrasound exposure to be greater in time or magnitude than that necessary to produce the required diagnostic information.
All of our sonographers are fully qualified with many years of experience both within the private sector and the NHS. We work closely within a clinical framework with the wellbeing of your baby being our priority. At each scan we will assess the growth of your baby and give you a report with our findings, we have excellent working relationships with local hospitals and robust referral processes if we need to refer you on. We operate within strict safety guidelines and use the As Low As Reasonably Achievable (ALARA) principle when scanning for thermal exposure times and mechanical index values.
There are no contraindications for first line ultrasound scans when operated within the required guidelines. The safety of diagnostic ultrasound continues to be reviewed by various professional bodies.