Children's Hospital Colorado
Imaging Services (Radiology)
Imaging Services (Radiology)
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Ultrasound at Children’s Hospital Colorado

Doctors at Children’s Colorado use ultrasounds to assess a wide variety of medical problems. We may recommend an ultrasound to help us diagnose or treat your child. At Children’s Colorado, all ultrasounds are performed by sonographers specifically trained in pediatrics.

What is a pediatric ultrasound?

Ultrasound (also called sonography) uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of the inside of your child’s body. This procedure is painless and does not use radiation.

A sonographer places a small wand (transducer) directly on your child’s skin with ultrasound gel to create the images. Then a radiologist reviews the results and consults with your child’s doctor, who determines the next steps.

Ultrasound images provide valuable information for diagnosing and treating a variety of diseases and conditions, such as:

  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Appendicitis
  • Vascular malformations
  • Infections
  • Blood clots

Pediatric contrast-enhanced voiding urosonography

We also offer a newly developed ultrasound technique called contrast-enhanced voiding urosonography (ceVUS).

During CE-VUS, we use a tiny tube (catheter) to inject a special ultrasound contrast (made of tiny gas bubbles) into the urethra.

Then we take ultrasound images of the bladder, kidneys and urethra. These images can help doctors find problems in the urinary tract, such as urine flowing backwards into the kidneys.

Pediatric contrast ultrasound

Occasionally, your doctor may order an ultrasound with an IV contrast agent (made of tiny gas bubbles). This test helps us visualize structures that may otherwise be difficult to see. Your child’s doctor may order this test to assess:

  • Liver lesions like a hemangioma (a tangled group of blood vessels)
  • Splenic hemangioma (a benign tumor in the spleen)
  • Kidney or splenic laceration (torn tissue in the kidney or spleen)

A nurse or pediatric ultrasound technician places an IV in your child’s arm and connects it to a tube containing the contrast. We take ultrasound images of the area before, during and after giving the IV contrast.

How should I prepare my child for a pediatric ultrasound?

  • Take time to talk with your child and explain the test.
  • Reassure your child that they’ll be safe and comfortable, and you’ll be there the whole time for the pain-free test.
  • You may want to bring a comfort item like a stuffed animal, toy or blanket.
  • Most ultrasounds don’t require special preparation. In some cases, the doctor may request that your child has an empty stomach or a full bladder. Your child most likely won’t need to remove any clothing.

What to expect during your child’s ultrasound

Ultrasounds are safe and painless, but it’s still helpful for kids to know what to expect. An ultrasound exam will generally look like this:

Check in to the hospital

  • Please arrive 30 minutes before your child’s scheduled ultrasound.
  • Bring a list of your child’s medicines and insurance card.
  • We’ll give your child an identification bracelet to ensure they get the right test.
  • A sonographer talks with you about the procedure and answers any questions.

Take the ultrasound

  • We’ll escort you and your child into one of our scanning rooms and position your child on the scanning table.
  • The sonographer moves your child’s clothing to the side and spreads warm gel on the area we’re examining.
  • We place a microphone-shaped transducer wand on the area and move it around to take pictures, while your child stays still.
  • Depending on what test the doctor ordered, scanning takes 20–40 minutes.
  • The sonographer reviews the images with a pediatric radiologist and sends a report to the doctor who ordered the test. Your child’s doctor will follow up with you on next steps.

What to expect after an ultrasound

Your child can return to regular activities right away, unless the doctor recommends otherwise.

If you have any questions or concerns, call the ParentSmart Healthline toll free at 1-855-KID-INFO (543-4636). Caring pediatric nurses are available 24/7 to help answer your health questions.

Why choose us for a pediatric ultrasound

Children’s Colorado is a leading pediatric hospital that specializes in children’s unique medical needs. We offer:

  • Expertise: Our skilled Imaging Services team cares for thousands of children each year. We have the training and experience to perform your child’s ultrasound in a place designed just for kids.
  • Specialized team: A highly trained sonographer performs your child’s ultrasound, and our expert radiologists review the results and consult with your child’s doctor on the diagnosis.
  • Convenience: We offer radiology, imaging and testing at several of our locations throughout Colorado. You can filter by specialty service, city or zip code to find the test you need closest to home.

Learn more and schedule a pediatric ultrasound

If you have more questions or would like to schedule an ultrasound, contact the Children’s Colorado general radiology scheduling line at 720-777-6541.

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