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Fast Facts About the Pediatric Ultrasound
- An ultrasound gives pictures of the inside of your child’s body using sound waves made by the ultrasound machine.
- Your child will be awake at all times.
- The test usually takes about 15 to 45 minutes.
- Your child can resume normal diet and activities afterward.
What Is An Ultrasound?
An ultrasound is a picture taken with sound waves of the tissues and organs inside your child’s body.
- Ultrasounds do not hurt.
- Ultrasounds give doctors important information about certain areas inside your child’s body that they cannot learn from a physical examination.
- The length of time needed to do each ultrasound varies depending on the kind of ultrasound that has been ordered for your child.
- Depending on the kind of ultrasound that your child is having, there may be important instructions on things to do or not do the day before and the day of your child's ultrasound. Please follow the specific instructions that are given to you by the Department of Pediatric Radiology staff.
- If you have any questions regarding these requirements, please contact the Department of Pediatric Radiology.
- You may bring along a “comfort” item—such as a favorite stuffed animal or “blankie”—for your child to hold during the test.
Ultrasounds are done at the Department of Pediatric Radiology of Children’s Hospital. In the room will be an ultrasound technologist who is experienced in taking ultrasounds of children. You will see a bed and the ultrasound machine with a type of wand attached. You might explain to your child that the wand is a small camera for taking pictures of inside his or her body and that he or she will be able to watch the ultrasound pictures as they are being taken on the computer screen. If your child has any questions, the ultrasound technologist will be happy to answer them before the test.
Depending on the kind of ultrasound your child is having, he or she may be asked to either remove, pull up, or pull down pieces of his or her clothing. When your child is ready, the test will begin.
- Your child will be awake during this test.
- Your child will be asked to lie down on the bed.
- The ultrasound technologist will place warm scanning gel or lotion on the wand or on your child’s skin.
- The ultrasound technologist will place a towel around the area of your child’s body that is being examined to keep your child’s clothing clean from the gel being used.
- The ultrasound technologist will place the wand on the area of your child’s body that is being examined and move it around in order to take the pictures.
- Your child will be asked to lie very still while the ultrasound is being taken.
- When all of the ultrasound pictures have been taken, the ultrasound technologist will wipe off any gel on your child’s body.
A Parent’s/Guardian’s Role During the Test
We welcome your help and support during this test. Two parents or guardians are invited to join your child in the examination room. Other adults and children must wait in the waiting room.
The ultrasound technologist will show you where to sit or stand in the examination room during the test. Please follow the instructions of the medical staff performing the test.
- The most important role of a parent and guardian during the test is to help your child stay calm and relaxed. The best way to help your child stay calm is for you to stay calm.
- It is important that your child remains still when the ultrasound pictures are being taken.
- We encourage you to talk to your child and hold his or her hand.
- Please do not distract the medical team or interrupt the test in any way.
- We welcome your questions, but please ask them either before or after the test.
After the Test
When the ultrasound technologist has taken all the pictures needed and wiped the gel off of your child, he or she will check with a pediatric radiology doctor to make sure the pictures are clear, which takes only a few minutes. The doctor will often come into the room to help the technologist take additional pictures. When the ultrasound technologist and pediatric radiology doctor are satisfied with the pictures, the ultrasound is finished.
- No special follow-up care for your child is necessary.
- After the test, your child can return to normal activities and resume a normal diet.
- A pediatric radiology doctor will review your child’s ultrasound. A report of your child’s ultrasound will be sent to the doctor who prescribed it, usually within 48 hours. If the results are urgent, the referring doctor will be contacted immediately.
- Please contact the doctor who prescribed the test for the results.
- If you have any other questions or concerns about the test, please call the Department of Pediatric Radiology and an ultrasound technologist will discuss them with you.
Special Needs and Patient Preparation
If your child has any special needs or health issues you feel the doctor needs to know about, please call the Department of Pediatric Radiology at Children’s before your child’s ultrasound and ask to speak with a nurse. It is important to notify us in advance about any special needs.
Preparing your child beforehand, as well as comforting your child during the test, will help your child have a more positive experience. Sometimes it is difficult to know how to explain tests to children. If you have any questions about ways to prepare or support your child, or feel your child will have difficulty during the test, please call the Department of Pediatric Radiology at Children’s and ask to speak with the child life specialist.
Department of Pediatric Radiology
Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC
One Children’s Hospital Drive
4401 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
April 12, 2010
April 12, 2010