Pelvic ultrasound is an examination of the pelvis using ultrasound, used as a first-line method in investigating pelvic pathology, for the detection and diagnosis of pelvic diseases.
Pelvic ultrasound is mainly used for the evaluation and diagnosis of male or female internal genitals and bladder.
Ultrasound is an extremely useful, noninvasive method of investigation, free of health risks because it does not use ionizing radiation. Pelvic ultrasound investigates, the bladder, ovaries, uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes in women, and in men, the bladder, prostate, and seminal vesicles. In the case of pregnancy, the method is used to monitor the progress of the pregnancy and the condition of the fetus.
How Much Does a Pelvic Ultrasound Cost?
When deemed medically necessary, the costs for a pelvic ultrasound are covered by health insurance. If you are under health insurance coverage you would have to co-pay anywhere between $15 and $50 or even more, and the costs of coinsurance would be 10% to 50% or even more.
In case you are not covered by health insurance, be prepared to see variable prices depending on the geographical area and the provider you choose. According to NewHealth.com, the cost is anywhere between $260 and $1,150 and the national average price is around $530. For instance, at the Concierge Medicine in California, you would pay around $280 for a pelvic ultrasound.
On the other hand, the price for a transvaginal ultrasound at the Baptist Memorial Health Care in Tennessee would be $400.
The cost of a non-obstetric ultrasound would be $570 at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center from New Hampshire, while the obstetric ultrasound costs $720, including the doctor fee, after an uninsured discount of 30%.
If you go for a non-obstetric pelvic ultrasound at the Saint Elizabeth Regional Medical Center from Nebraska, expect to spend anywhere between $250 and $630. At the same clinic, you would pay $590 for a transvaginal ultrasound and $500 for a transrectal ultrasound, without the radiologist fee. Also, they charge anywhere between $600 and $1,100 for obstetric transabdominal ultrasounds.
Pelvic Ultrasound details
A pelvic ultrasound uses the same principle as other types of ultrasounds: a transducer that emits ultrasound (high-frequency sounds, over 20,000 Hz, in the case of examination 1-5 Mhz), is placed on the abdomen. At the touch between the device and the body structures, echoes are produced, which are captured by the same transducer and transmitted to a computer that analyzes them, generating images that are projected in real-time on a monitor, and can be studied on the spot, stored or printed.
In pelvic ultrasound, the transducer can be placed on the abdomen, but also inside the body, to obtain more accurate images. Thus, it can be inserted inside the rectum, in men, for the examination of the prostate or intravaginally in women, for the study of the internal genitals.
What are the extra costs?
There are situations when during the transrectal or transvaginal ultrasound a tissue sample is taken for biopsy. Depending on the number of samples and the type of biopsy thousands of dollars could be added to the final cost.
Important things to consider
A referral from your family doctor or specialist will get you the best treatment available. The American College of Radiology offers a locator by zip code so that people can find ACR-accredited facilities for ultrasound procedures and hospitals as well.
Pelvic ultrasound is recommended for women and men to diagnose hematuria (the presence of blood in the urine) or other urinary problems (for example, repeated infections or signs of obstruction), to see how the bladder empties (before and after emptying it, to see if it is completely empty). Pelvic ultrasound is also recommended in case of tumors in the pelvis, discovered on clinical examination or persistent abdominal pain, of unclear cause.
In the case of pelvic ultrasound, it is recommended to consume 1 liter of plain water within 30 minutes, one hour before the investigation; the patient should not urinate, even if they have this need, so the bladder will be full and will allow the visualization of neighboring structures (prostate, uterus, ovaries).
How can I save money?
For those who are looking to save on their medical bills, it is important that they speak with a doctor about available discounts. This is why the U.S Department of Health and Human Services provides an online locator for clinics which offer reduced rates based upon income.
There are many imaging centers and hospitals that offer a 30% discount or even more to cash-paying/uninsured patients. For instance, you can get a 35% discount if you choose to go to the Washington Hospital Healthcare System in California and 40% discount if you pay in full at the timer of the service at the Raleigh Radiology from North Carolina.