Having an Ultrasound

Your child has been scheduled for an ultrasound. Please arrive 20 minutes before your scheduled exam. This will allow time for you to register your child for the exam.

Please bring:

  • Your child's insurance card
  • Your child's immunization record
  • Your child's Express ID Card, if you have one

What is an Ultrasound?

An ultrasound is an imaging test that uses sound waves to take pictures of organs inside your child's body. It is painless and non-invasive (meaning no cuts or tubes to be inserted). It is often used to assess pain or to detect problems such as enlarged organs.

Getting Ready for the Test

Most ultrasound exams require little or no preparation prior to the exam. Sometimes you may be asked to follow the instructions listed under Ultrasound Exam Preps. It is very important that the instructions are followed closely.

When you arrive at the Radiology Department, one of the sonographers (the person who will be doing your ultrasound) will explain to you and your child how the exam will be done. You will then be taken into a room where you will see a bed and a large ultrasound machine. We encourage parents to sit next to their child during the test.

Ultrasound Exam Preps

Abdomen, Gallbladder, Liver (hepatic), Pancreas

Birth - 2 years old (less than 25 lbs)

  • Nothing by mouth (NPO) 2 hours before exam (includes all foods, snacks, gum, hard candy and liquids)

3 - 8 years old

  • Nothing by mouth (NPO) 6 hours before exam (includes all foods, snacks, gum, hard candy and all liquids)

8 years and older

  • NPO 8 hours before exam (includes all foods, snacks, gum, hard candy and all liquids)

Note: Only a small amount of water allowed, if needed, to take medicine.

Kidney (renal)

  • No carbonated drinks 12 hours before the exam.

Pelvic, Bladder

  • 24-32 ounces of non-carbonated drinks within one (1) hour before the exam.
  • No voiding (do not allow your child to use the bathroom to urinate after drinking the non-carbonated drink).

Head, Hip, Pyloric, Soft Tissue, Testicle, Thyroid

  • No prep

During the Test

The sonographer will help your child lie on the bed. A small amount of a special warm gel will then be squirted over the part of the body that needs an ultrasound. This gel helps the sound waves go through your child's body and create a picture. Next, a small microphone-like device called a transducer is placed on the body part the doctor wants to look at and your child's pictures are taken. As the pictures are being taken, your child may be asked to lie in different positions. Your child's pictures will be shown to the radiologist (a special ultrasound doctor) who will then decide if more pictures are needed.

The exam will take 30 minutes to an hour.

After the Test

There's a short wait while the pictures are reviewed. Sometimes it may be necessary to take more pictures. When everything is finished, your child will be released. The radiologist will then tell your child's doctor the results of the test.

Commonly Asked Questions about the Exam

How long will the exam take?
The exam will generally take 30 minutes to an hour.

When will I know the results of the exam?
The radiologist will let your doctor know the results of your child's exam. Your doctor will then discuss the results of the exam with you.

Will the ultrasound test hurt?
No, ultrasound is simple and painless!

If you have any questions about the test, please ask your radiographer or doctor.