Difference Between 3D and 4D Ultrasound

3D and 4D ultrasound are techniques used for taking ultrasound images. An ultrasound is an imaging device that is used for detection of many diseases, but mostly it is used to visualize the fetus in womb. Sound waves are used to penetrate the womb and take images of the baby which are shown on a monitor. In general, ultrasound imagery helps in ascertaining well being of the growing fetus. Majority of pregnant woman around the world undergo ultrasound during pregnancy. While traditional 2D technique is more common, having been around for more than 25 years, recent advancements have allowed images to be viewed in 3D and even 4D. 2D, as the name signifies was two dimensional which means you could view flat looking images like normal photos. It helped in diagnosing heart defects, and problems with other organs such as kidneys and lungs. 2D images are flat and in black and white.


The technique of sending sound waves is similar; the only difference with 2D is that these waves are emitted from many angles which produce images on the monitor in three dimensions. You can see depth in images and also find many more details. In 3D, the technician sweeps a probe over maternal womb just like 2D but the computer takes multiple images and produces life like 3 dimensional images on the screen. As the images are 3D, it is possible to detect any possible defect in the face and organs such as cleft lip.


4D means four dimensional, and the fourth dimension is time. It is the latest technology in ultrasound. Here 3D images are taken and an element of time is added. This allows parents to see their baby in real time. Such imaging is helpful in diagnosing and detecting structural defects in a baby such as cardiac deformities, and other deformities of hands, legs and spine. 4D technology also helps doctors in determining fetal age, fetal development, evaluation of multiple and high risk pregnancies. 4D ultrasound has proved to be of immense help in scans used to detect endometrial polyps, uterine fibroids and ovarian tumors.

For reassurance as well as keepsake, 4D is incredible as it allows you have videos of your unborn baby moving, yawning, sucking his thumb and waving his hand. 4D has also helped doctors in improving accuracy of diagnosis when it comes to biopsies and amniocentesis. In 4D, 3-4 images are taken per second, which gives you an illusion of a movie.

However, in most cases, 2D ultrasound is carried and images from 3D and 4D are used in conjunction to arrive at conclusions. 3D and 4D capabilities help doctors to detect any anomalies or abnormalities.


• 3D and 4D are techniques used for taking ultrasound images.

• While 3D adds depth to 2D photos, 4D adds the element of time to make 3D images appear like a movie.

• Both 3D and 4D are helping doctors in detecting abnormalities in fetus in a better way.