What is an ultrasound?

An ultrasound is a test that uses sound waves to take pictures of the organs inside your body. Ultrasound imaging does not involve the use of x-rays or any form of radiation.

Ultrasound images help in the diagnosis of a wide range of diseases and conditions. An ultrasound of the kidneys is called a renal ultrasound. An ultrasound of the stomach and other internal organs and structures (such as the liver, gall bladder, pancreas, aorta, spleen, or inferior vena cava -- the large vein that returns blood to the heart) is called an abdominal ultrasound.

Why is my child having this test?

This test is done to look at the size, shape, and condition of the urinary system or the stomach organs.

What happens during the test?

  • Your child will be asked to lie on his/her back on an exam table. The lights will be dimmed.
  • The ultrasound practitioner will place warm gel on your child’s skin and the ultrasound transducer (a smooth, round instrument) will be pressed against that area of skin.
  • The scanner moves back and forth around that area of skin to obtain pictures of the inside of your child’s body. Your child may feel pressure or tickling.
  • Your child may be asked to turn on his/her side for the examination.
  • The size of your child's bladder may be measured before and after he/she uses the bathroom to detect any problems.

What can I do to help put my child more at ease during this test?

  • Your child may hold on to a favorite toy or blanket during the test for comfort.
  • You may stay close to your child throughout the entire test, holding hands and comforting while offering praise and reassurance.
  • Some ways your child can remain calm and relaxed are to blow on a pinwheel, take slow deep breaths, sing, or read a book. Older children may want to bring music or a hand held video game.
  • Practice some of these relaxation techniques with your child at home.
  • Remember, your presence is a comfort to your child. Please try to plan for alternate care for siblings on the day the test is scheduled.

What happens after the test?

  • The gel will be wiped off your child’s stomach and back with a washcloth.
  • The test results will be given to your doctor.

Child life specialists are health professionals who help children and their families understand and cope with medical experiences. Preparing children for medical events, such as specific tests and procedures, is an integral part of our program. If you feel the need to speak with a Child Life Specialist before you child’s scheduled test, call 216.445.2683.



© Copyright 1995-2011 The Cleveland Clinic Foundation. All rights reserved.

This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 1/6/2011…#13617