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Infant brain test
Infant brain test


Definition:

Transillumination is the shining of a light through a body cavity or organ.



How the test is performed:

The room lights are dimmed or turned off so that the appropriate part of the body may be seen more easily. A bright light is then pointed at a location on the body, typically the head, scrotum , chest of a premature or newborn infant, or breast of an adult female.

Transillumination is also sometimes used to find blood vessels.



How to prepare for the test:

No preparation is necessary for this test.



How the test will feel:

There is no discomfort associated with this test.



Why the test is performed:

This test may be done along with other tests to diagnose:

In newborns, a bright halogen light may be used to transilluminate the chest cavity if there are signs of a collapsed lung. (Transillumination through the chest is only possible on small newborns.)



Normal Values:

Normal findings depend on the area being evaluated, and the normal tissue of that region.



What abnormal results mean:

Areas filled with abnormal air or fluid will light up when they should not. For example, in a darkened room, the head of a newborn with possible hydrocephalus will light up when this procedure is done.

When done on the breast:

  • Internal areas will be dark to black if there is a lesion and bleeding has occurred (because blood does not transilluminate).
  • Benign tumors tend to appear red.
  • Malignant tumors are brown to black.


What the risks are:

There are no risks associated with this test.



Special considerations:

In general, transillumination is not a particularly good test for any of these above-mentioned disorders, and further tests, such as an x-ray or ultrasound, are needed to confirm the diagnosis.




Review Date: 11/14/2007
Reviewed By: Deirdre O’Reilly, M.D., M.P.H., Neonatologist, Division of Newborn Medicine, Children’s Hospital Boston and Instructor in Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
789 Central Avenue, Dover, NH 03820
Phone: (603) 742-5252
Toll free: 1 (877) 201-7100