3D vs. 4D Ultrasound – The Difference Between

The difference between 3D and 4D ultrasound Two of the technologies used in taking ultrasound images go by…

The difference between 3D and 4D ultrasound

Two of the technologies used in taking ultrasound images go by the names of 3D and 4D. Hospitals regularly use ultrasound to detect many kinds of diseases, but it is most often used to examine an unborn fetus in the mother’s womb. It does this by using sound waves. They penetrate the wall of the womb and the fetus shows up on the screen. The technician takes pictures of the unborn baby as well as measurements to ensure that the fetus is growing properly. Doctors all around the world regularly refer their patients for this type of screening at least once or twice throughout the pregnancy.

The most common ultrasound technique is 2D, but recent developments have made it possible to view the ultrasound images in better ways, such as 3D and 4D. 2D technology has been around for a quarter of a century and allowed technicians to view flat images in the same way that you can view a photo. It has proven to be very useful in screening for heart defects and problems in other organs of the body. 2D is only available in black and white.

3D Ultrasound

3D ultrasound technology allows the sound waves that are transmitted through the organs of the body to produce an image from many different dimensions because they emit at many different angles. In addition to being able to see the depth in an image, many more details are visible. The technician still uses the same type of device, but the computer is able to take many different images at the same time and produce them in 3D on the screen. With this technology it is possible to detect problems such as cleft lip in the facial features of the fetus.

4D Ultrasound

The latest technology to come to ultrasound is 4D. With this improvement, it is now possible to take 3D images and have the added element of time. Parents are now able to see the baby moving inside the womb in real time. With this technology it is now easier than ever before to detect abnormalities in the limbs as well as defects in organs of the body. Doctors can now be more accurate in determining the age of the fetus and its stage of development as well as being able to diagnose problems before the baby is born. This technology has also proved to be very effective in helping to diagnose fibroids and polyps in the uterus and tumors on the ovaries.

With 4D technology, parents can now have color photos and videos of the unborn baby. They can see it yawning, sucking its thumb, kicking its legs and moving its arms. It has greatly improved a mother’s chance of getting medical attention in a high risk pregnancy and has made it possible for doctor’s to accurately pinpoint areas where biopsies may be needed. Since the images are taken per second, watching the pictures on the screen is like watching a movie.

In most cases, 2D ultrasound is still used and 3D and 4D are added so that problems can be seen in greater detail.


  1. 3D and 4D are technologies used in ultrasound.
  2. 3D adds depth and 4D adds time.
  3. Both are instrumental in helping doctors diagnose problems with an unborn baby.


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