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Getting An Ultrasound At The Mall

The Early Show: ultrasound picture
CBS/The Early Show
Has the next generation of high-tech medicine arrived at the shopping mall? The latest in three-dimensional ultrasound is capable of painting a picture of a fetus in more detail than ever before, to the delight of many mothers-to-be and the concern of many doctors. Dr. Emily Senay reports for The Early Show.

"Fetal Fotos" in Pasadena, Calif., is a photo shop where the newest generation in ultrasound equipment meets, well, the newest generation. It's one of a number of stores nationwide selling ultra-clear images of unborn children to their mothers-to-be.

This is not your mother's ultrasound machine. These brand-new high-tech marvels create incredible color images. Still, it's not a doctor's office. Technicians use the machinery for entertainment purposes -- something both the FDA and many doctors find troublesome.

Doctors are concerned that non-medical ultrasounds may create anxiety over perceived problems that require riskier and more invasive follow-up tests, or that parents will end up wasting their money on these unnecessary tests.

Three-dimensional ultrasound holds great promise for use in medicine, but we'll have to wait for the results of ongoing studies before we can be certain of its benefits in comparison to traditional ultrasound. Right now, the best person to tell you when and why to get an ultrasound is your own doctor.