Ultrasound scanners use high frequency sound waves used to produce images. There are various uses of the scanners but chiefly among its use is examination of growing fetus in the womb.
There are several types of these scanners. The conventional 2D type however is the most common form. The scanner renders the image of the scanned part in black and white image that does not give much detail. With the need for more accurate diagnosis, more details are sometimes needed to ensure that the image can be properly read. This led to the development of the 3D scanners.
The 3D scanners offer much better view than the 2D scanners. They send sound waves to different angles and as such they render the image from different angles on the monitor. This gives the image a much better detail which can be easily appreciated. However the 3D scanners do not show movement of fetus and organs. That though can be achieved with 4D scanners.
The increased image quality raises concern about the safety of the 3D scanners. To start with, every exposure to radiation in any form is not good. That is why as much as possible it is advisable to reduce the amount of radiation exposure as much as possible. The 3D scanners emit almost the same levels of ultrasound waves as its 2D types. The scanners emit the radiation which bounces off the organ or fetus and when it is received by the scanner, sophisticated computer software renders the image on the screen.
The Food and Drugs Administration recommends that whether the scanner is 2D, 3D or 4D, the ultrasound sound energy should be limited to 94 mW/cm2 for obstetrical ultrasound scans. That value is considered safe. But the American Institute for Ultrasound Medicine warns that before you take any ultrasound scan, know that there may be risk involved so as much as possible, keep the number of times you have the scan low.
With that said and done, the intensity of the risk associated with the scanner is based on the period of exposure to the radiation, the intensity of the waves and the number of times the scan is performed. Theoretically, increase in any of these factors may increase the health risk- if any- of the person and the fetus.
Evidently, there are no documented adverse effects on fetuses whose mothers received 3D scanners. Mothers have not also been affected by the scanners. At least that is what the documents reveal because there is no documented proof of side effects on mothers who received the scan. Patients who also had a medical examination with the scanners have not been found with any side effect since the machine was invented some 30 years back.
However due to the high definition of the image that is produced, small and seemingly harmless cysts that may be found in the image given to the mother may cause a psychological distress to the mother and might lead to more evasive exanimations which will increase her exposure to the waves.