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Ultrasound (Pediatric)

What is an ultrasound?

Ultrasound (also called sonography) uses high frequency sound waves, inaudible to the human ear, to create images of your child's organs, tissues, and body structures.

A handheld device called a transducer sends short pulses of sound waves into the body. As these waves echo or bounce off the target area, they are received by a transponder and sent to a computer. A software program then transforms that information into a visual image.

An ultrasound may be requested for the following reasons:

  • If your child has abdominal pain that may be caused by gallstones, kidney stones, abscesses, or an inflamed appendix
  • To guide the placement of needles used in a biopsy
  • To determine if an abdominal organ is enlarged and why
  • To pinpoint the location of abnormal fluid in the abdomen
  • To determine why a very young child is vomiting
  • To evaluate the reproductive organs

How should I prepare my child for the test?

For most ultrasound tests, there is no special preparation and the exam itself is quick and painless.

Simply be sure you child is dressed in comfortable clothing. He or she may be asked to change into a gown before the exam begins.

When a girl is scheduled for a pelvic ultrasound of the ovaries and uterus, it is important that she come to exam with a full bladder. This helps us obtain a better image of the reproductive organs.

What happens during the test?

During an ultrasound, your child will lie on the exam table, either face up or on one side, The skin over the area to be imaged will be covered with a small amount of gel. The sonographer will then glide the transducer over the skin to capture images of internal organs and tissues.

At certain points, your child may be asked to hold their breath so we can obtain an accurate picture.

An ultrasound exam usually takes between 30-60 minutes.

What can I do to help put my child during this test?

You can stay with your child during an ultrasound to provide comfort and reassurance.

Are there any risks?

Ultrasound does not use ionizing radiation, special dyes, or anesthesia. It is a safe diagnostic tool with no known risks or side effects.

What happens after the test?

Your child can resume normal activities right away. A radiologist will analyze the ultrasound images and your child’s physician will explain the results.