What is Real-Time Ultrasound in Pelvic Health?
Real-Time Ultrasound (RTUS) allows your Chartered Physiotherapist to gain a more accurate assessment of your abdominal and pelvic floor muscles at rest and during a contraction. We can watch the different layers of muscles contract, relax and most importantly look at their coordination, timing and size. It also provides real-time feedback for the patient who can visualise the muscles working on the screen, allowing them to learn and facilitate an improved pattern of muscle activation.
Benefits of Real-Time Ultrasound in Pelvic Health
The information gathered by the real-time ultrasound can be used for functional retraining for a variety of conditions such as diastasis recti, incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, core strengthening and low back pain. The main muscles observed during the ultrasound are TVA, Internal oblique, External oblique, Rectus abdominus and the pelvic floor. Current research suggests that if you have low back or pelvic girdle pain or dysfunction (incontinence, vaginal, perineal or anal pain) or have been pregnant, these muscles stop working effectively. These muscles are very important for stabilising your back, maintaining bladder and bowel control, and supporting your pelvic organs (bladder, uterus and rectum). As these muscles work effectively at a low amount of contraction, it can be difficult for people to learn the correct technique. The ultrasound gives you a picture of the muscle at rest and contracting, so you can see when you are contracting correctly. Real-time ultrasound is recognised as being safe as a therapeutic modality.
What the Research says
Trans-abdominal application of real-time ultrasound is a non-invasive method for imaging and assessing pelvic floor muscle activity and is both valid and reliable (Shelburn et al 2005)
Real-time Ultrasound is a safe validated method to observe deep muscles of the trunk (Teyhan et al 2007)