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An ultrasound is a photo or a film of a part of the body. During the ultrasound exam, sound waves are reflected and are then transposed into an image. The purpose of the exam is to investigate the cause of certain complaints in the organs.

Ultrasound of the abdomen or kidneys
If an ultrasound is made of the abdomen or kidneys, then your child's bladder must be full so that the doctor can better see the bladder. Your child must drink two glasses of water or another liquid one hour before the exam, without urinating after that. If your child has difficulty holding up his/her pee, then please bring another pair of pants with you to the hospital just to be sure. It's also handy to bring along another bottle if extra water must be drunk.

Ultrasound of the gallbladder
An empty stomach is required when ultrasound is done on the gallbladder. In this case, your child may not eat or drink for four hours prior to the exam. If your child is allowed to eat a light breakfast (you will be informed of this), it's important that this is limited to three slices of bread and such lean toppings as jam or smoked meat (no eggs, cheese, sausage, etc.). It's OK to drink tea, milk or lemonade with breakfast. When brushing teeth or taking regular medicines, your child may have a small drink of water. It's also a good idea to take along something to eat for after the exam.

Ultrasound of the belly
For ultrasound exams of the belly (without a specific indication for gall tracts) or other parts of the body, your child may usually eat or drink whatever he/she wants. If your child is expected to have an empty stomach, then the doctor will discuss this with you beforehand.

The examination/treatment

Gel is smeared on the part of your child's body that the doctor wants to examine. This allows the sound waves to go through the skin. The laboratory technician performs the exam by moving the device (transducer) around through the gel. The only part of the body that needs to be nude is the portion getting the ultrasound exam: underwear can always stay on. Rubbing in the gel does not hurt and it feels like the rounded side of a spoon.

The transducer emits sound waves and then recaptures the echo from those sound waves. The sound waves are of such a high frequency that they are inaudible to humans. The sound waves encounter the organs in your child's body and are reflected back to the echo device. Some sound waves return quickly, others return more slowly. Using these time differences, the laboratory technicians can calculate the appearance of the organs with the echo device. Usually, a radiologist comes to take a look and evaluate the results at the end of the exam.

An ultrasound exam takes about 45 minutes in total.


You will receive the results of the ultrasound from the doctor who requested the ultrasound. This happens during your next appointment in the hospital. During this appointment, you will be told exactly what can be seen on the ultrasound.

Your child will not experience any side effects from the ultrasound. Ultrasound also presents no risk of complications. It will not make your child ill, and it does not make complaints any worse.


If you have any questions about this exam, please contact the planning office: 088-9727650.

If you have any questions or would like recommendations about preparation and support, you can always contact our medical education staff: medischpedagogischezorg@prinsesmaximacentrum.nl.