A renal ultrasound is a painless, noninvasive exam often used by pediatric urologists to diagnose problems with a child’s kidneys, ureters or bladder. They are ideal for babies and children because they are pain free and have no exposure to radiation. Ultrasound technology uses high-frequency sound waves to make images that show movement of internal organs and blood flow.
Those images reveal things such as:
The exam lasts between 15 minutes and an hour. The length of time it takes for your child’s physician to review the images, receive results and discuss them with you depends on several factors such as:
Your child should arrive at Riley at IU Health for a renal ultrasound with a full bladder. Fluids are encouraged as long as they are not sparkling drinks that could fill the stomach or intestines with gas. Any medications can be consumed with clear liquids prior to the test. Ideally, it is best for children to dress in comfortable clothes that allow easy exposure of the lower abdomen.
Before the ultrasound begins, your child lies face up on an ultrasound table. We prepare him or her for the ultrasound by applying a warm, water-based gel to the skin on the lower abdomen. The ultrasound technologist glides a handheld device called a transducer across the area. Your child may be asked to move into certain positions throughout the test.
The most difficult part of an ultrasound for children is holding still at certain points, which is necessary to obtain clearer images. Our technologists work with children and babies every day, and we understand that they may need to be coaxed through the experience.
Parents and caregivers are welcome to bring a favorite toy, hold a child’s hand or talk to them during the exam. Each exam room has a television to help entertain your child.
There are no side effects from renal ultrasound studies. Your child can resume a normal routine immediately after the test.
Riley at IU Health offers a broad range of supportive services to make life better for families who choose us for their children's care.
This organization has ties to the American Urological Association and promotes research and education in urological care, working with healthcare providers, patients and caregivers.
This U.S. National Library of Medicine website shares information on kidney and urological conditions and treatments.
This U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website shares information for parents and caregivers about urological diseases and treatments.
In addition to our primary hospital location at the Academic Health Center in Indianapolis, IN, we have convenient locations to better serve our communities throughout the state.
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