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How to prepare for your child’s ultrasound fact sheet

How to prepare for your child’s ultrasound

What is an ultrasound?

An ultrasound scan is a medical test which uses high-frequency sound waves to capture live images from inside people’s bodies. Unlike other imaging techniques, ultrasounds do not use radiation like X-rays.

Why is an ultrasound performed?

Your child’s doctor may have ordered an ultrasound if they are suffering pain, swelling, or other symptoms which require an internal view of their organs.

What to do before the procedure

Be sure to bring a favourite toy or blanket and/or a game or smart device with which to distract your child during their examination.

If you have the original referral/request form, you must bring it to this appointment.

Please arrive at the department 15 minutes prior to your appointment time and consider time for parking. If you are running more than 15 minutes late please phone 3068 3100.  If you are excessively late, or incorrectly prepared for your appointment, it may need to be rescheduled.

Abdomen ultrasound

No food or fluid, other than water, should be consumed for the period below:

  • Children under two years: Withhold the feed prior to the appointment – ideally for two hours prior to the scan. For infants, bring a bottle/feed for after the scan.
  • Children aged two-six years: Fast for four hours prior to the appointment and bring a snack for them to eat after the scan.
  • Children over six years: Fast for six hours prior to the appointment and bring a snack for them to eat after the scan.

Pelvis or renal (kidney/bladder) ultrasound

A full bladder is required for an optimal study – please follow the drinking instructions below and try to prevent your child from emptying their bladder prior to the scan. For some children/babies, this will not be possible, but it is important to hydrate for the study regardless.

  • Children under two years: Feed 30 mins prior to the appointment. For infants, bring a bottle with which to help settle your child during the scan.
  • Children aged two-six years: Drink two glasses of water/clear fluid (about 250ml), 30 mins before the appointment.
  • Children aged six-twelve years: Drink three glasses of water/clear fluid (about 500ml), one hour before the appointment.
  • Children over twelve years: Drink four glasses of water/clear fluid (about 750ml), one hour before to the appointment.

Abdomen and pelvis ultrasound (if booked together)

A full bladder is required for an optimal study, but no food or fluid other than water should be consumed for the period below:

  • Children under two years: Withhold the feed previous to the appointment, ideally for two hours prior to the scan. For infants, bring a bottle/feed for after the scan.
  • Children aged two-six years: Fast for four hours prior to the appointment and drink two glasses of water/clear fluid (250ml), 30 mins before the appointment. Bring a bottle a snack to eat after the scan.
  • Children over six years: Fast for six hours prior to the appointment and drink four glasses of water/clear fluid (500ml), one hour before the appointment. Bring a snack for after the scan.

Pylorus ultrasound (in newborn babies)

Please bring a bottle of milk or water for your baby during the scan.

Important things to remember

  • There is a private area for breastfeeding if required (please ask at reception).
  • If your child has special nutritional requirements, please contact us prior to the appointment as their preparation may need to be altered.
  • In hot weather, children may dehydrate quickly so water should not be withheld during fasting.

Contact us

Medical Imaging and Nuclear Medicine
Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital
501 Stanley Street, South Brisbane
t: 07 3068 3100

In an emergency, always contact 000 for immediate assistance.

Resource No: FS278. Developed by the Medical Imaging and Nuclear Medicine Department, Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital. Updated: January 2018. All information contained in this sheet has been supplied by qualified professionals as a guideline for care only. Seek medical advice, as appropriate, for concerns regarding your child’s health.

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