What Is an Ultrasound?

An ultrasound is an imaging test that uses sound waves to make pictures of your child’s body. An ultrasound helps doctors find problems with organs or tissues inside the body.

How Does the Ultrasound Technologist Make the Pictures?

The ultrasound technologist makes the pictures by using a transducer to look at your child’s organs. A transducer looks like a wand with a cord that connects to a computer. An ultrasound technologist is someone who uses an ultrasound to take pictures inside the body.

When the ultrasound technologist holds the transducer against your child’s skin, a picture of the organs shows up on the computer.

How Long Does the Ultrasound Take?

The ultrasound takes about 30 minutes (half an hour).

How Should My Child Prepare for the Ultrasound?

How your child should prepare depends on which part of the body they are having the ultrasound on. Please ask your child’s radiologist (imaging doctor) or primary care provider how to prepare for the ultrasound.

What Should My Child Expect During the Ultrasound?

Here is what your child can expect during the ultrasound:

  • The ultrasound does not hurt.
  • Your child will lie down in an exam table during the ultrasound. The exam table will have pillows so they are comfortable.
  • The ultrasound technologist will use a clear gel on your child’s skin. The clear gel helps the transducer make the pictures come out clearer. The gel might feel cold and wet. It does not smell or stain.

When Will I Get the Results Back?

The radiologist will tell you the results on the same day. The care team will send the results from the ultrasound to your child’s doctor the day after the ultrasound appointment.

Rev. 1/2019. MassGeneral Hospital for Children and Massachusetts General Hospital do not endorse any of the brands listed on this handout. This handout is intended to provide health information so that you can be better informed. It is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to treatment of any medical conditions.