Cranial Ultrasound

Is a technique for scanning the brain and cerebrospinal fluid using high-frequency sound waves. It is used almost exclusively in babies because their fontanelle (the soft spot on the skull) provides an "acoustic window".

Parameters defined during the test

  • Tissue structure
  • The presence of tumors
  • Diameter of the major vessels of the brain
  • The nature of the blood flow in major vessels
  • Condition of the vessel walls
  • The size and shape of the cerebral ventricles
  • The size of the subarachnoid cavity
  • Evaluation for hemorrhage or parenchymal abnormalities in preterm and term
  • infants.
  • Evaluation for hydrocephalus.
  • Evaluation for the presence of vascular abnormalities.
  • Evaluation for possible or suspected hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy.
  • Evaluation and follow-up of patients on hypothermia, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, and other support machines.
  • Evaluation for the presence of congenital malformations.
  • Evaluation of signs and/or symptoms of central nervous system disorders (e.g,
  • seizures, facial malformations, macrocephaly, microcephaly, and intrauterine growth
  • restriction).
  • Evaluation of congenital or acquired brain infections.
  • Evaluation of trauma (e.g, complications of falls, cephalohematoma, and subgaleal
  • hematoma, including fractures, subdural hematoma, and/or subarachnoid hemorrhage).
  • Evaluation for craniosynostosis.
  • Follow-up or surveillance of previously documented abnormalities, including prenatal
  • abnormalities.
  • Screening before surgical procedures.

Preparations

You don't need to do anything special to prepare for this test.

If an older baby is having the test, it may help if the baby is a little hungry. You can feed your baby during the test. This may help calm your baby so he or she will hold still during the test.

How the procedure is performed

This test is done by a doctor who is an expert in imaging tests (radiologist). Or it may be done by an ultrasound technologist (sonographer) who works along with a radiologist. For a baby, the test may be done at the baby's bedside in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Your baby will lie on his or her back. The transducer is moved across the soft spot on top of the head. This spot is called the fontanelle. 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 screen.

For an adult, the test is done during brain surgery to help find a brain mass.

Abnormalities determined by Cranial Ultrasound

  • Cerebrovascular disturbance
  • Brain tumors
  • Brain ischemia
  • Hemorrhage and hematoma
  • Inflammation, such as encephalitis, meningitis and other

There are no contraindications to neurosonography.

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