An ultrasound is one of many services offered by the Department of Radiology and Medical Imaging at Cincinnati Children’s.

An ultrasound uses sound waves to take pictures of structures inside the body. These sound waves echo from the body to create a picture on a computer screen. The human ear cannot hear these sound wave echoes, so a special wand called a transducer is used to take pictures. 

What to expect during your ultrasound

One of our technologists (called a sonographer) will escort the patient into one of our scanning rooms. The rooms are fairly dark so that we can see the screen (like a movie theater). Your child will lie on a soft table. The sonographer will place warm lotion onto your child’s body and take pictures. The lotion is clear and easily removable. The sonographer will slide the transducer across the part of the body being examined. Sometimes during ultrasound, the doctor (radiologist) comes in and scans too. The ultrasound test does not hurt, and ultrasound waves will not harm your child. The tests take 30 minutes or longer.

Parents are encouraged to stay with their child during the test. Have your child wear loose clothing. During the ultrasound test, your child will need to lie fairly still on the table, so it is a good idea to bring a favorite DVD to watch. If you forget, we have a large selection of movies. If you have other children with you, bring an adult to watch them.

Getting your child ready for the test

There are different preparations to follow, depending on your child’s age and the part of the body being examined. Before coming to the hospital, explain to your child what will happen during the ultrasound test. If your child is an infant and drinks from a bottle, it is a good idea to bring a bottle for him. Also, bring a pacifier or special toy to help calm your child. For older children, bring books or electronic games to occupy them while waiting and during the test.


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