How To Prepare
No special preparation is required
before having this test.
If an older baby is having the test, it
may help to have the baby be a little hungry. The baby can be fed during the
test, which will help the baby to be comforted and to hold still during the
How It Is Done
This test is done by a doctor who
specializes in interpreting imaging tests (radiologist) or
by an ultrasound technologist (sonographer) who is supervised by a radiologist.
For a baby, cranial ultrasound may be done at your baby's bedside in the
neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). With the baby lying on his or her back,
the transducer is moved across the soft spot (fontanelle) on top of the head.
You may be asked to hold your baby during the test. Pictures of the brain and
inner fluid chambers (ventricles) can be seen on a video monitor.
For an adult, cranial ultrasound is done during brain surgery to help
find a brain mass.
A cranial ultrasound usually takes 15 to 30
How It Feels
There is usually no discomfort involved
with having a cranial ultrasound test. Unless the gel is first warmed to body
temperature, it may feel cold when it is put on the skin.
There are no known risks linked with a
cranial ultrasound test.
ultrasound uses reflected sound waves to produce
pictures of the brain and the inner fluid chambers (ventricles) through which
cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) flows.
The size and shape of the brain appear
The size of the brain's inner fluid
chambers (ventricles) is normal.
Brain tissue appears normal. No bleeding,
suspicious areas (lesions), abnormal growths, or evidence of infection are
Bleeding in the brain may be present, which
may indicate intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH). Repeated tests are often done
to check the bleeding or to look for problems caused by the
Suspicious areas or lesions around the
brain's ventricles may be present. This may be a sign of periventricular
leukomalacia (PVL), a condition in which the brain tissue around the ventricles
The brain and ventricles may be enlarged
from the buildup of excessive amounts of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). This may
Abnormal growths may be present, which may
point to a tumor or
Suspicious findings may be present, which
may point to
What Affects the Test
Reasons you may not be able to
have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:
- The baby does not remain still during the
- Having an open wound or recent surgical wound in the area