What are the benefits vs. risks?

  • Ultrasound provides real-time imaging, making it a good tool for quick evaluation of potentially emergent conditions such as appendicitis.
  • Ultrasound equipment is much less intimidating to young children than the large equipment used in other types of imaging, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scans.
  • Ultrasound scanning does not require a child to lie perfectly still in order to capture a useful image.
  • Ultrasound imaging is a painless, low-cost and non-invasive examination.
  • Ultrasound is widely available and easy to use.
  • Ultrasound does not expose children to ionizing radiation.

For standard diagnostic ultrasound there are no known harmful effects to humans.

What are the limitations of Abdominal Ultrasound Imaging?

Ultrasound has difficulty penetrating bone and therefore can only see the outer surface of bony structures and not what lies within. For visualization of bone, other imaging procedures, such as x-ray, computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), may be selected. Sound waves do not pass through air, and evaluation of the stomach, small intestine and large intestine may be limited by gas within these structures.