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Seeing In 4D

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-I'm Debra Gil for Parents TV. Today we're talking about ultrasounds and every parent wants to know what their baby is going to look like, but today we're taking a look at a new tool doctors have to see what's really going on inside. Let's take a look. -So Jennifer, everything we see with the baby looks great. What I'm gonna do is go ahead and hit the 4D button, and let's see that there's enough fluid in front of the face to see the baby's face. Let's see the eyes and the nose. The very tip of the nose you need fluid in front of the face to be able to see that part really well. -It looks more like a baby now than in my previous ultrasounds. -What is the most amazing thing that you can even kind of see features? I mean you started pointing out, "Oh, she looks like me or my dad," or what is really exciting you about can you see this much image? -I just think with the traditional ultrasound, you're just gonna see the profile which is always fun, that you kind of always have to explain that picture. Here you show this and people will really get an idea of what your baby looks like. -We've been performing 2-dimensional ultrasound for decades and what came into play with 3-dimensional ultrasound in that basically it's a volume of the data instead of just points instead of black and white points, it's a volume acquisition. And so we've been calling that 3-dimensional ultrasound then the 4th dimension is time. So it's the ability to watch in a 3-dimensional computer simulation. It's not really 3-dimensional because it's on a flat plane, but you watch the fetus or whatever structure with real time, so it's the real time almost hologram-type acquisition of ultrasound. It's the same energy as regular ultrasound. -You have another daughter so you've been through this process before, but this technology is a little better, a little different. I'm assuming then the last baby, how was it helpful for you to get to see this now? -A blast now. We never really got to see her features like we can now. While I see these pictures today it's kind of like when I'm dealing-- when our first daughter was born. I mean we can count 10 fingers and 10 toes now rather than wait until January so that's always nice and doctors are able to see that everyone is healthy and we're not expecting any problems so I guess we're a little bit relieved. -You see her cheek and her lips there. It's there, then a little bit on that where you can see the tip of the nose. Now she's moved, her chin up. We see her eyes. There's a foot. Actually her foot is right up by her face. You can see her hand right there. See that? -Yes. -And so this is basically gives us a little bit more information than the 2-dimensional ultrasound alone and fetuses would normally open and close their mouths, often at this even open and close her eyes. It's a tool. It does not replace 2-dimensional ultrasound. It helps problems solved. For example, there might be a suggestion of a defect such as a cleft lip. It's used very much for facial anomalies and musculoskeletal anomalies. So there might be a question of I see this black line on 2-dimensional ultrasound in the region of the lip, I think there is or I'm pretty sure it is, but then by going to 3-dimensional ultrasound and getting this global view of the face, we can not only determine that the defect is real. It's just another way of looking at it but also really be able to see how severe it is. It helps me on a day-to-day basis when I'm evaluating a fetus because I'm able to see different structures than I'm used to seeing with 2-dimensional and to see it in the 3-dimensional way to be able to see how the baby actually moves and to be able to see fingers and toes in the whole plane. And once you get the volume you can post-process, move it around and see 1 structure in all these different planes. So I really think of it as a powerful tool. -What kinds of things do you need in place or that have to be in order for you to get a good clear image? -It's depends on the reason you're doing the 3D ultrasound. One thing is that it's very important to have enough fluid in front of the structure that you're looking at. If the baby is up against the placenta, you're not gonna get a good picture with 2D or a 3D and then you also a parent's expectations sometimes are a little bit high that they're gonna get this very nice picture. So number 1 is to have enough fluid. You need the fetus to be the optimal size for what you're looking at. At the very young fetus, there's not gonna be that much subcutaneous tissue, not enough fat and skin and therefore those babies when we do 3D on them, they look very skeletoid. On the other hand, sometimes we wanna look at the skeleton so sometimes that's really what you want to have anyway, but the position of the baby, the fluid in front of the structure you're interested in are probably the 2 most important factors and how big the baby is. -Do you suspect that as people know that this technology is available, that there will be more people that would wanna come forward and say, "I want a 4D ultrasound," or is it still a tool for the doctor that you to determine when you really need to do this? -Yes. This problem or this issue is already here. Last year I had to write a policy of who we do 3D ultrasound on because we're a referral center. We see fetuses with problems or high-risk pregnancies, and so our policy is that we use 3D in fetuses in who we think there's something wrong first and foremost. Although ultrasound is very safe but we feel strongly that it should be performed only when medically indicated, to date a pregnancy, to see how the baby is growing, to look at the anatomy of the fetus. -Ultrasound technology has been around for years, but with this new tool, doctors and parents can see what is developing perfectly and any problems that may arise so they can be handled early. For Parents TV, I'm Debra Gil. -Thank you for watching Parents TV, our families, our lives.