The aim of this study was to describe the potential of three-dimensional ultrasound (3DUS) in the urinary tract of neonates, infants, and children. The potential applications are illustrated based on our experience in 80 patients using two different 3DUS techniques. Various disease entities throughout the neonatal and pediatric age have been evaluated. The potential of 3DUS is discussed based on comparison with conventional 2DUS or other imaging (as clinically indicated), focused on the potentially improved renal parenchymal volume assessment. In our experience, 3DUS is feasible in neonates, infants, and children without sedation. It reduces imaging time, improves demonstration of complex anatomy and allows for evaluation of anatomy/pathology in any plane. The 3DUS improves volume assessment and follow-up comparison by offering an improved standardization and documentation. Rendered views of the dilated collecting system enable a comprehensive demonstration of hydronephrosis similar to intravenous urography or MR urography images. Additionally, 3DUS offers an ideal tool for training and education. Yet, limitations have to be acknowledged: areas inaccessible for 2DUS; poor quality of the original 2DUS acquisition; limited resolution; patient motion and breathing; cardiac pulsation creating artifacts and misregistration; equipment cost; lack of 3D DICOM standards creating problems with data storage; as well as system-inherent technical limitations. Nevertheless, the 3DUS holds the potential to become a valuable additional imaging tool for sonographic evaluation of the pediatric urinary tract.
3D ultrasoundNeonateChildrenInfantsHydronephrosisKidneyUrinary tractRenal volume