WVU Physicians of Charleston uses the latest technology to diagnose, document and educate

Every expectant parent has a moment when the reality of parenthood hits him or her. For Beckley, W.Va. native Samantha Hayner and her husband, that moment was the first time they saw their baby.  The Hayners didn’t have to wait until the delivery date.

Using the latest 4D ultrasound technology, Dr. Stephen Bush of the WVU Physicians of Charleston Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinic and his team were able to give the Hayners a very realistic, three dimensional, and high definition look at their daughter in the womb at four and one-half months.

“It's amazing,” Hayner said.   “I actually had a son fifteen years ago, and this technology was not available then.   To actually get to see her features, and her little nose was awesome.” 

Dr. Bush and his team are using the technology in many ways.   The technological enhancements the new ultrasound machine provides gives them the ability to see much more than previous models, making discoveries and diagnoses much earlier than before.

“I love this new machine,” said ultrasonographer Martha Fulcher.   Fulcher noted that early trimester viewing and fetal viability are much clearer, and larger patients have better results using the new equipment.

The new unit being used by Dr. Bush and his team is the GE Voluson E10 ultrasound machine.   “The pictures we obtain are amazing,” Bush said.  “Not only are the three and four dimensional views unbelievable, but the resolution for 2D ultrasound to screen for anatomy defects is more accurate.”    Bush said that both his medical team and patients are very excited to see the realism and detail of the pictures coming from the machine.  “The three dimensional views and visibility of a three month pregnancy are so realistic.”

As an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology with West Virginia University Charleston Division School of Medicine, Dr. Bush also uses the technology to train medical students and residents during their obstetrics and gynecology rotations at Charleston Area Medical Center’s Women and Children’s Hospital in Charleston.

“With the visualization of this machine, you can see the anatomy so much more clearly, Bush said.  “It's as if you have a camera inside of the uterus. We can see the baby at six to eight weeks and see it developing.  It's just an amazing piece of technology.”

Defects, such as heart abnormalities, can be detected much earlier with the use of this type of imaging, according to Bush.   A scan of the infant’s heart can visualize all four chambers, allowing the ultrasonographer to see the blood flow coming from the heart into the different vessels much earlier than previously possible.

Dr. Bush and his team at the WVU Physicians of Charleston use the ultrasound not only for obstetrics, but to diagnose gynecologic issues as well.   They are able to visualize uterus, ovaries, and cysts on ovaries much more clearly with the resolution of the machine.  While uncommon, Bush said that cleft lip and cleft palate defects could also be detected much earlier using the Voluson 10.   

Infertility patients are also benefitting from the technology’s ability to pick up uterine abnormalities and obtain 3D follicle sizes during the examination.

“We're excited to be able to offer this improved technology to our patients,” Bush said. “We're the first in the Charleston area to have this machine. West Virginia University strives to have the best technology available.”

For parents like the Hayners, the experience is an emotional one.

“Oh yes, you can see emotionally that they just really connect with seeing their baby,” Fulcher said. “I see a lot of crying and a lot of smiles.”

The Haners say they feel the experience of seeing their child grow and develop is magical and priceless.

“It was very amazing. I'm very glad I came,” Hayner said. Learn more about the 4D ultrasound by watching the video below: