All machines at Park Ultrasound are 3D/4D capable. Our machines are not just “Philips” and “GE”, they are the best available models within those brands. In conventional ‘2D’ ultrasound only a thin slice of the fetus is viewed at any one instant. This allows a lot of detail, and the person performing the ultrasound (the sonographer) mentally gets the third dimension by moving the probe. With 3D ultrasound a whole series of slices is taken in a quick time sequence and reconstructed by computing into a picture more like normal vision. To get the rapid multiple slices, each individual ultrasound slice contains diluted information. 4D is a description of 3D that tells you it is being performed live, so the fetal movement is seen.
The quality of the picture in 3D/4D depends on cooperation from the fetus, and the conditions are far fussier than conventional ultrasound. For good 3D the fetus cannot be facing the floor; a good pool of fluid is needed in front of the fetus and the limbs should not be blocking the face. None of this can be explained to the fetus. It is also affected by maternal build much more than the 2D ultrasound. When good views are obtained parents-to-be are usually fascinated by the 3D image of their baby. However it is important to understand that the picture contains all the original ultrasound artefacts (distortions) and some extra distortion from the dilution of sound to get the extra dimensions. The pictures will often not resemble the ideal photos displayed in a magazine, which are usually very carefully chosen from a large numbers of ultrasound examinations, and touched up as well. If 3D/4D is very important to you, you will have a better chance if your bladder is at least reasonably full.
The main use of 3D ultrasound in pregnancy (as distinct from gynaecology) is to be able to communicate with parents or doctors who are not familiar with normal more detailed 2D ultrasound information. It is rarely medically useful in practice compared to live 2D scanning. We are a medical practice and do not offer 3D/4D where there is no medical reason for an ultrasound appointment. However if the fetus is in a suitable position during a referred ultrasound examination, it can give an opportunity to provide 3D/4D views.