Ultrasound

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BabyUltrasound, which is also known as sonography, is a painless, non-invasive imaging technique that lets us look inside your child's body without the use of radiation. It uses high-frequency sound waves to create pictures of organs, bones, tissues and blood vessels.

We perform over 26,000 ultrasound exams each year in Boston, in the hospital's Advanced Fetal Care Center and at our satellite centers in Waltham, Lexington, Peabody and South Weymouth . Our pediatric radiologists and sonographers provide exceptional care in a friendly, nurturing environment that is especially tailored to children. We are experts at obtaining high-quality images in patients of any age, ranging from fetal life through young adulthood.

Our expertise 

Children have their own diseases and unique anatomy. Our pediatric radiologists and sonographers are highly trained subspecialists with particular expertise in performing and interpreting imaging studies of infants and children.

Fetal imaging: We perform sonography on pregnant women referred to the hospital's Advanced Fetal Care Center.  A subset of our pediatric radiologists and sonographers are also experts in fetal imaging. The diagnoses made during fetal imaging guide treatment both before and after birth.

Neonatal sonography in the Longwood area: We provide ultrasound expertise for babies in the neonatal intensive care unit here at Boston Children's Hospital and at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Bats, Kids and Sonar

Your child might be fascinated to learn that the microphone-shaped transducer gliding across his skin during an ultrasound exam works in much the same way as the biological sonar (echolocation) used by bats and whales.

How should I prepare my child for an ultrasound?

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Because many parents and children want to know what to expect when they come for an ultrasound, we have posted helpful information here. If you have additional questions about your child’s upcoming exam or procedure, please call us at 617-355-7840 and we will be happy to help you.

Abdominal Ultrasound

YOUR CHILD’S AGE

PREPARATION

Less than 1 year old

No feedings for 2 hours prior to the exam

1 - 4 years old

Nothing to eat or drink for 4 hours prior to the exam

Over 5 years old

Nothing to eat or drink for 6 hours prior to the exam (the last meal should be a low fat meal)

 

Abdomen and Pelvic Ultrasound

Follow the same instructions as for an abdominal ultrasound. A very full urinary bladder is required to view the organs in the pelvis:

  • Children who are one year old or more should drink water prior to the exam.  If the child is toilet trained, they should not empty their bladder until the study is finished.
  • Prior to the age of toilet training, or in situations where the child is not continent, we will do our best to image when the bladder is as full as possible.
  • We may give your child water to drink and ask you to wait for a period of time in our department until your child's bladder is full.

Pelvic Ultrasound

A very full urinary bladder is required to view the organs in the pelvis:

  • Children who are one year old or more should drink water prior to the exam. If the child is toilet trained, they should not empty their bladder until the study is finished.
  • Prior to the age of toilet training, or in situations where the child is not continent, we will do our best to image when the bladder is as full as possible.
  • We may give your child water to drink and ask you to wait for a period of time in our department until your child's bladder is full.  

Renal Ultrasound

Generally, no preparation is required. However, if symptoms include hematuria (blood in the urine), we will want to scan when the child has a full bladder. Fluids should be encouraged in this situation and the child should not empty their bladder prior to the exam.

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Contact the Department of Radiology

617-919-7226

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- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO
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