Ultrasound

The Imaging Center at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital provides the most advanced imaging services to obtain the highest quality ultrasound for your child. Caring for children of all ages from fetal life to young adulthood, our team combines specialty expertise with a focus on each child’s individual needs to ensure the most accurate diagnostics.

A pediatric ultrasound is a painless, non-invasive exam which uses harmless sound waves to produce images of the body without the use of radiation. Our ultrasound technologist (sonographer) can view the images as a live video or as a “static” still photograph, working closely with the radiologist to get the best images.

Why Choose Us

  • With a focus on safety, we carefully calibrate each exam to suit your child’s age, size, symptoms, and condition.
  • Our board-certified pediatric radiologists and sonographers review thousands of exams every year and provide expert insight.
  • Your child benefits from the latest imaging technology to obtain the most accurate diagnostics including ultrasound units with 3D and 4D capabilities.
  • We work closely with pregnant moms and offer advanced fetal imaging and diagnostics to detect any issues before a baby is born.

What Should I Do Prior to the Exam?

If your child’s doctor has ordered this type of exam, we will guide you every step of the process. Our Child Life Specialists are also available to assist you and ensure a successful outcome.

Depending on the part of the body being examined and your child's age, there are different preparations required. The following are the most common ultrasound procedures and the appropriate preparation.

Abdominal Exam

Prior to this exam, your child should not have anything to eat or drink for a number of hours. The hours vary for children ages.

  • 12 months: 2- 4 hours prior
  • 12-36 months: 4 hours prior
  • 3 years and older: 8 hours prior

Pelvic Exam

There are no food restrictions prior to this exam. However your child must have a full bladder in order for the exam to be performed.

  • Infants to 2-years-old: Liquid feeding one hour prior to the appointment. Bring an extra juice or formula bottle to give your baby during the exam.
  • 3 to 5-years-old: Give your child as much to drink as possible (at least 8 ounces) 30 minutes before the appointment. Your child should not empty their bladder until after the exam.
  • 6 to 10-years-old: Give your child at least 16 to 24 ounces to drink 45 to 60 minutes before the appointment. Your child should not empty their bladder until after the exam.
  • 11 and older: Give your child 32 ounces of fluid to drink an hour before the appointment. Your child should not empty their bladder until after the exam.

There are no special preparations needed for the following exams:

  • Hips
  • Spine
  • Arms and Legs
  • Brain
  • Thyroid
  • Scrotum
  • Soft tissue masses

It’s best to dress your child comfortably in clothes that are easily removed. We may recommend your child change into a gown for the procedure.

What Should I Expect During the Exam?

For the ultrasound, your child will lie down on the exam bed. The room will be dimly lit so the sonographer can easily view the images on the computer screen. During the exam, the child may be asked to hold their breath at times or lay in different positions. It’s important for your child to hold as still as possible. Bringing their favorite stuffed animal, book or DVD from home might help. Your child can also choose from our wide selection of movies to watch during the exam.

The technologist will then put a warm gel on the hand-held scanning device called a “transducer” and also on the part of your child's body that is going to have the ultrasound. The gel is clear, easily removable with water, and does not stain clothing. The technologist will glide the transducer over the parts of the body that the doctor needs to see. If your is able to, they can look at the images on the computer screen.

Afterwards, the technologist sends a sampling of images to the radiologists. After reviewing them, the radiologist may want to perform the ultrasound exam themselves in order to view the area being studied live or in real time.

Our Child Life Specialists are always available to answer your questions and provide support during the procedure.

Test Results

Our SLUCare Physician Group radiologists will review the images, interpret any findings, and send the results to your child’s doctor. It may take several days for the physician to review the findings and images and make clinical decisions on the next step for your child’s medical care.

At SSM Health Cardinal Glennon, we look forward to caring for your child. With an experienced staff and state-of-the-art imaging technology, you can count on us to deliver the excellent care your child needs. To schedule your appointment today, please call 314-577-5652.

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