Pediatric Radiology, Raleigh, NC

ULTRASOUND

Pediatric Imaging

Ultrasound imaging, also called sonography, uses sound waves to produce pictures of structures inside the body. Sound waves are transmitted by a special probe called a transducer, across the skin and into the body. The reflected sound waves, or echoes, that return to the transducer are then converted into an image by a special computer.  The images can be viewed continuously as the body part is being scanned, which allows the sonographer and the Pediatric Radiologist to image moving structures, such as blood flowing through vessels. Static or still images as well as short video clips can be saved for review and interpretation by the Pediatric Radiologist.

Instructions specific to the exam and patient’s age will be provided.  Familiarize yourself with these instructions the day before the exam in order to ensure optimal results.  If you have any questions at all, please contact our office right away.

Abdominal Ultrasound:
Nothing to eat or drink (NPO) for:

  • 2 hours if infants less than 2 years of age
  • 3-4 hours if 2-5 years of age
  • 6 hours if older than 5 years of age

Ultrasound of the Pelvis, Kidneys and Bladder:
A full bladder is necessary for these exams.

  • Infants should be fed liquids within one hour
  • Older children should drink at least 8 ounces during the hour immediately before the exam, and not go to the bathroom before scanning
  • Adolescents should drink at least 24-32 ounces during the hour immediately before the exam, and not go to the bathroom before scanning

No special preparation is needed for the following exams:
Ultrasound of the brain, spine, hips, scrotum

Please plan to arrive between 15-30 min prior to your scheduled appointment.  Check-in and registration are completed at the front desk.  A sonographer will escort you and your child to the ultrasound room.

The room is furnished with an exam table/bed, ultrasound machine and seating.  The lights are lowered in order to view the images more clearly on the computer screen.

Your child may be required to remove some clothing, depending on the type of exam requested.  He/she will lay on the exam table and a small amount of warm, clear gel will be placed on the body part being imaged. The ultrasound transducer will be gently pressed on top of the gel.  The captured images will appear as a movie on the screen and select images or movie clips will be saved on the computer.  You and your child can view the images while the study is being performed.

Before the study is fully completed, a majority of the images may be forwarded to the Pediatric radiologist for evaluation. He/she will determine whether additional images are needed from the sonographer and proceed accordingly. Certain studies may require the radiologist to personally perform the exam; in which case the results would be discussed with you immediately.

Upon completion, the radiologist will analyze your images and send the findings to your referring physician.

Is Ultrasound safe?

Yes.  Ultrasound uses sound waves and not ionizing radiation.

Does it hurt?

No. The sound waves are outside of the range that can be heard and do not hurt.  You will feel the warm gel placed on your skin and the gentle pressure of the transducer as it slides over the area being imaged.

Are there any special preparations?

It depends on the exam that your doctor has ordered.  Please see the exam prep link.

Can you see everything with ultrasound?

Ultrasound is an excellent modality for evaluating different body parts.  Sometimes, it can be difficult to see through or around things like air (i.e. intestines) and bone.  In these cases, your doctor may choose to order a different study or additional study that will best answer their clinical question.

How long is the exam?

Most exams take an average of 30 minutes.