Neonatal cranial ultrasound: Are current safety guidelines appropriate?

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleOtherpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Ultrasound can lead to thermal and mechanical effects in interrogated tissues. We reviewed the literature to explore the evidence on ultrasound heating on fetal and neonatal neural tissue. The results of animal studies have suggested that ultrasound exposure of the fetal or neonatal brain may lead to a significant temperature elevation at the bone-brain interface above current recommended safety thresholds. Temperature increases between 4.3 and 5.6C have been recorded. Such temperature elevations can potentially affect neuronal structure and function and may also affect behavioral and cognitive function, such as memory and learning. However, the majority of these studies were carried out more than 25 y ago using non-diagnostic equipment with power outputs much lower than those of modern machines. New studies to address the safety issues of cranial ultrasound are imperative to provide current clinical guidelines and safety recommendations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)553 - 560
Number of pages8
JournalUltrasound in Medicine & Biology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017


  • Cranial ultrasound
  • Fetal brain heating
  • Mechanical index
  • Preterm infants
  • Thermal index
  • Ultrasound safety

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