What is ultrasound?
Ultrasound uses high frequency sound waves and their echoes to make cross-sectional images of the inside of your child's body. The sound waves reflect or "echo" in a different way off of each part of the body, such as bone, fluid and soft tissue. These echoes form a picture. Ultrasound produces no radiation and is painless.
When is ultrasound needed?
Ultrasound has many important roles, including the following:
- Screening the kidneys and bladder when a urinary tract problem is suspected.
- Evaluation of masses or infection (such as appendicitis) in the abdomen.
- Assessment of blood vessel and soft tissue abnormalities.
- Evaluation of the glands of the neck.
- Evaluation of joints, muscles, and tendons.
In babies, we can also view the brain through the soft spot (or fontanelle) on the head, the hip joints and the spine.
Our team has undergone additional specialty training so that we can perform transcranial Doppler examinations to evaluate the blood vessels supplying the brain with ultrasound. This is sometimes requested as a screening tool in children with sickle cell disease and other settings when abnormalities of these blood vessels are suspected.