Why do healthcare providers order ultrasounds for children suspected of having child abuse injuries?
Ultrasound is a safe diagnostic tool with no radiation exposure. It is cost-effective and simple to perform. To evaluate the head of a child suspected of having head trauma, the victim must have an open anterior fontanelle. Ultrasound may indentify intracranial abnormalities, including cerebral edema, hemorrhage or ventricular enlargement. Ultrasound may also identify abdominal injuries involving bleeding and free fluid.
Ultrasound provides important but limited diagnostic information that may help guide the provider in child abuse evaluation.