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Having an ultrasound scan

What is an ultrasound scan?

An ultrasound scan uses sound waves to look at things inside your body like your kidneys, liver, muscles, and your heart. It is simple and painless.

The person who does the scan is called a sonographer or radiologist.

What happens during an ultrasound scan?

You will be able to stay with your child throughout the scan.

On the day of the scan your child will need to lie on the ultrasound room bed, the light will be turned down, and a small amount of warm gel will be put on the skin over the area that needs to be looked at. A small instrument called a ‘transducer’ will then slide over the area of gel.

The scan will not hurt and will take around 15 to 30 minutes to do.


Please note: photography or video imaging during the scan is not allowed.

We are a teaching hospital and therefore there may be trainee doctors or sonographers performing your scan but please be assured these are fully supervised.

Is there any preparation needed before the scan?

Depending on the part of the body that your doctor has asked us to scan you may need to drink some juice or water before the scan or you may be asked not to eat for a few hours before the scan. This information will be in your appointment letter.

If you have had a scan before and your child is old enough to understand you could let them know about the ‘jelly’ that we put on the skin to make the scan work.

Please feel free to bring any favourite comforters or toys to help your child relax.

What happens after the scan?

After the scan the sonographer or radiologist who did the scan will put a report on the hospital computer system so that your doctor who wanted the scan can look at the result.

Further resources

Please read our resource for more information about risks of anaesthetics.

Contact us

If you have any questions or worries about the scan please telephone the radiology department on: 0114 226 0812

Is something missing from this resource that you think should be included? Please let us know

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Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

Resource number: RAD8

Resource Type: Article

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Western Bank
S10 2TH

United Kingdom

Switchboard: 0114 271 7000

Interesting Facts

We’ve got a special MRI scanner just for teddies so children can see what it’s like before they have a scan.

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