Abdominal Ultrasound for Children

Children's (pediatric) abdominal ultrasound imaging produces pictures of the internal organs and blood vessels located within a child's abdomen.

A Doppler ultrasound study may be part of your child's abdominal ultrasound examination.

Doppler ultrasound is a special ultrasound technique that evaluates blood velocity as it flows through a blood vessel, including the body's major arteries and veins in the abdomen, arms, legs and neck.

Common Uses of Abdominal Ultrasound for Children

Abdominal ultrasound imaging is performed to evaluate the:

  • Appendix
  • Bladder
  • Gallbladder
  • Intestines
  • Kidneys
  • Liver
  • Pancreas
  • Spleen

Ultrasound also can:

  • Help a doctor determine the source of abdominal pain, such as stones, abscesses or an inflamed appendix
  • Guide procedures such as needle biopsies, in which needles are used to sample cells from organs for laboratory testing
  • Help identify the cause of an enlarged abdominal organ
  • Identify the location of abnormal fluid in the abdomen

Because ultrasound provides real-time images, it also can be used to guide procedures such as needle biopsies, in which needles are used to extract sample cells from an abnormal area for laboratory testing.

Ultrasound also may be used to guide the insertion of a catheter or drainage device and helps assure accurate placement.

Doppler ultrasound images can help your doctor see and evaluate:

  • Blockages to blood flow (such as clots).
  • Narrowing of vessels (which may be caused by plaque).
  • Tumors and congenital malformation.

Preparing your child for an abdominal ultrasound is the same as preparation for an adult.