WHAT IS CRANIAL ULTRASOUND?
A cranial ultrasound is also known as a ‘head scan’. Sound waves are used to look at the brain structure and the fluid spaces within the brain (ventricles). It does not involve any X-rays.
WHY IS IT DONE?
Cranial ultrasounds are performed to look at problems of premature or complicated births. These include swelling of the brain, bleeding in the brain and any structural problems.
IVH is more common in premature babies than in full-term infants. Cranial ultrasound can detect most cases of IVH by the first week after delivery.
Both IVH and PVL increase an infant’s risk of developing disabilities that range from mild learning difficulties or delayed motor development to cerebral palsy.
Not all infants with an abnormal scan will develop problems.
Cranial ultrasound may also be done to evaluate an infant’s large or increasing head size (hydrocephalus).
WHO WILL HAVE A CRANIAL ULTRASOUND?
- As part of routine screening for infants born prematurely (less than 32 weeks).
- Babies born at full-term with complications around the time of delivery.
- To evaluate an enlarging head.
HOW IS IT DONE?
No special preparation is required before having this test. This test is done by radiologist with the baby lying on his or her back; a probe is moved across the soft spot (fontanel) on top of your baby’s head. Pictures of the brain and fluid chambers (ventricles) can be seen on a video monitor. A cranial ultrasound usually takes 10 to 15 minutes.
There is no discomfort involved with having a cranial ultrasound test. The gel may feel a little cold when it is applied to the skin.
There are no known risks associated with a cranial ultrasound test.