Ultrasound Examinations

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When is ultrasonography needed?

Ultrasound can be performed on many parts of the body. 

Abdomen

An abdominal ultrasound is an ultrasound of the internal organs, including the liver, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, kidneys and bladder. We perform an abdominal ultrasound when a child has:

Head

A head ultrasound is an ultrasound of the brain. It looks at the brain tissues and ventricles. It is usually performed on infants who still have a soft spot (called the fontanelle) in their skulls. We perform a head ultrasound when:

Hip

Hip ultrasound is used to take pictures of the hips of babies to look for a dislocated or underdeveloped hip. Both hips will be examined. It can be performed in babies from the newborn period to about 6-8 months of age. We perform a hip ultrasound when:

  • an abnormality is found through physical examination of a baby's hip
  • a family has history of hip dysplasia
  • a baby is breech

Kidney

A kidney ultrasound takes pictures of both kidneys and the urinary bladder. It does not directly test the function of the kidneys.  Some reasons we perform a kidney ultrasound are:

Pelvic

A pelvic ultrasound is used to take pictures of the pelvic organs, and is usually done to look at the uterus and ovaries in a girl. It will also be used to look at the bladder. Pelvic ultrasound can also be done in boys. A pelvic ultrasound is done to look for a cause of pelvic pain or search for a possible mass.

Spine

A spine ultrasound is used to take pictures of the spinal cord and surrounding structures in a baby who is usually less than 4 months old. A spine ultrasound is done to look for an abnormality of the spinal cord.

What kind of equipment do we use to perform ultrasounds?

  • Ultrasound machines are about the size of a grocery cart.
  • A TV screen for viewing the images is attached to the machine.
  • Ultrasound machines are portable and require no special support or shielding other than a good source of electricity.
  • The room used for scanning has dim lighting so that the pictures can be seen more clearly.
We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

Boston Children's Hospital 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115 617-355-6000 | 800-355-7944

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