What is a cranial ultrasound?

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A cranial ultrasound is a type of imaging test that looks at either the blood flow within the brain (a transcranial Doppler ultrasound) or the cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord and helps to cushion and protect them (head ultrasound).

Ultrasound is a safe, painless procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to create pictures of the inside of the body or head. During a cranial ultrasound, an ultrasound technician applies a special gel to the scalp and moves a tool called a transducer over the gel-covered area. High-frequency sound waves are transmitted from the transducer through the gel into the head. The transducer collects the sounds that bounce back and a computer then uses those sound waves to create images on a computer screen.

Cranial ultrasounds are often used to examine the brains of premature infants. In adults, they may also be used to assess brain tumors during surgery.

Continue Learning about Diagnostic Ultrasonography

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.