Ultrasound scan: FULL BLADDER [patient information]
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Ultrasound scan: FULL BLADDER [patient information]

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Your doctor has referred your child for an Ultrasound Scan. This will take place in the Imaging Department (also known as Radiology or X-ray department) on the Ground Floor of the Royal Hospital for Children.



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This service is for health professionals only

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Do I need to do any special preparation before the Ultrasound scan?

Your child needs to have a full bladder for this scan because it acts like a window. The fuller the bladder, the more we can see!

We suggest that your child drinks the the following amount:

Babies If your child is not potty trained then please feed as normal before the appointment
Children under 6 years old Please give your child half a pint of clear fluid, water or diluting juice (not fizzy) 30 minutes before the scan
Children aged 6-11 years Please give your child one pint of clear fluid, water or diluting juice (not fizzy) 1 hour before the scan
Children 12-16 years Please give your child one pint of clear fluid, water or diluting juice (not fizzy) 1.5 hours before the scan
What is an Ultrasound Scan?

An Ultrasound scan takes a series of pictures of your body using soundwaves. Humans cannot hear these sound waves. Animals such as dogs can hear them and bats use them to fly around in the dark without bumping into anything.  An ultrasound scan is sometimes called the tickle test” because it does not hurt you but it might tickle a little! It looks at parts of your body and you can see the pictures on the computer screen. It doesn’t take very long – only about 10 to 20 minutes – and you must lie still like a statue so we get lovely pictures.

A Sonographer or Doctor will take the scan.

The Imaging Team

We are made up of:

  • Reception staff,
  • Healthcare support workers,
  • Sonographers who perform and report the scan
  • Radiologists (x-ray doctors) who perform and report the scan
If my child is taking tablets or medicine, should I stop them?

No. If your child is taking prescription medication they should continue to take this as normal.

Is there anything I need to tell the staff before my child has their scan?

Please let us know if your child has any special requirements.

What does the scan involve?

We will ask your child to lie up on a bed and loosen their clothes so we can put some special ultrasound jelly on their skin. We tuck some paper towel into their clothes so we don’t get the ultrasound jelly on them. If the jelly does go on their clothes by mistake, not to worry it washes off very easily. 

The ultrasound jelly is spread across their skin using a small piece of equipment called a transducer. It looks like a magic wand! It does not hurt.  It is a camera that helps the ultrasound sound waves turn into a picture on the T.V. screen with the help of a computer.  The person doing the scan will tell your child which way to lie on the bed. It is very easy.

During the scan your child may watch their favourite programme on their own device (tablet or phone) or give their favourite Teddy a big hug.

How long will it take?

This depends on which part of their body is being scanned but it typically takes between 10 and 20 minutes. 

Although we make every effort to meet our appointment times, delays may occur due to emergency patients. We will let you know if this is the case.

What are the risks?

Ultrasound is a safe examination.

Can I come in with my child?

Whoever brings your child to the hospital will be able to come into the room with them. If they have a favourite soft toy they can come too. There is a play area in the waiting room if a parent or guardian wants to remain out the ultrasound room with other siblings or children.

After the scan

As soon as the scan is finished you can go home and your child can eat and drink as before.

When will I know the result?

We will send the results to the person who referred your child for the test. Your referrer will make arrangements to tell you the result.

Any other questions?
  • Call us if you need advice
  • Do not bring any valuables with you
Contact Centre Telephone Number

Call us as soon as possible if you can’t keep this appointment – we can make you another and give yours to someone else.

Contact Centre Telephone Number: 0800 0560103   

Editorial Information

Last reviewed: 17 August 2021

Next review: 31 August 2022

Version: 2.1

Approved By: Imaging Department

Document Id: MI 326058