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Ultrasound Scan

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KEY POINTS

  • An ultrasound scan uses high-frequency sound waves and their echoes to create video pictures of the organs and tissues in your child’s body.
  • Ultrasound is used to diagnose many diseases or conditions. Generally, an ultrasound scan takes 15 to 30 minutes to complete.
  • Ask your child’s healthcare provider how and when you will get your child’s scan results.

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What is an ultrasound scan?

An ultrasound scan is a safe and painless procedure used to look at the organs inside the body. It uses high-frequency sound waves and their echoes to create video pictures of the organs and tissues in your child’s body.

When is it used?

Ultrasound is used to diagnose many diseases or conditions. For example, it may be used to check:

  • Problems in organs of the body such as the heart, gallbladder, liver, kidneys, or bladder
  • Causes of vomiting in babies
  • Problems with blood flow
  • Muscle or ligament problems
  • The placement of a needle being used to remove tissue for testing

How do I prepare my child for this scan?

In general, you do not need to do anything special to prepare for the scan. If your child is having an ultrasound scan that requires preparation, your child’s healthcare provider will give you instructions.

What happens during the scan?

A small device called a transducer is placed on your child’s body. A warm gel is put on your child’s skin to improve the contact between your child’s body and the transducer. For an ultrasound scan of the rectum, the transducer is shaped like a narrow tube. The transducer is covered with a lubricated condom-like sheath before it is inserted gently into the rectum.

The transducer is connected to a computer with a display screen. High-frequency sound waves pass from the transducer through your child’s body. Your child cannot hear or feel the sound waves. As the sound waves pass through your child’s body, they bounce off the organs and tissue in the body and create echoes. The computer converts these echoes into images of your child’s organs. The transducer may be moved to several different areas on your child’s body while images are recorded on the computer.

Generally, an ultrasound scan takes 15 to 30 minutes to complete.

What happens after the scan?

Usually your child can go home and go back to normal activities as soon as the scan is done. You may be able to have the results within a few minutes to a few days later. Ask your child’s healthcare provider how and when you will get your child’s scan results.

What are the risks of this scan?

Ultrasound has no known risks because the sound waves used are not dangerous.

Developed by Change Healthcare.
Pediatric Advisor 2019.4 published by Change Healthcare.
Last modified: 2019-07-29
Last reviewed: 2019-07-29
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
© 2018 Change Healthcare LLC and/or one of its subsidiaries
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