Ultrasound Examinations

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When is ultrasonography needed?

Ultrasound can be performed on many parts of the body. Some include:


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:


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 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


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:


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.


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.
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- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

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