Nuchal Translucency

Nuchal Translucency Assessment offers assessment for chromosomal anomalies in early pregnancy.

This ultrasound is very time sensitive and the optimum time for performing this assessment is approximately between 12 weeks and 13 weeks 6 days, as many crucial anatomical features which are being assessed in this scan won’t be developed until then. The test suggests which pregnancies are at a higher risk of abnormality and may need further investigation.

The best time for these scans to be performed is as close to 13 weeks gestation as possible. At Queensland X-Ray we prefer the scan to be performed after 12 weeks 6 days gestation to optimise visualisation of the baby’s developing structures.

You may not think that a few days would make much of a difference to the visualisation of anatomy that can be achieved, but between 11 weeks 4 days and 13 weeks 6 days the baby almost doubles in size! As the baby's size increases, the visualisation of anatomy improves.

Alongside the scan we require you to have a blood test at least three working days prior. The pathology results and the scan measurements are used together to provide your report.

During the procedure we scan your pelvis with a full bladder (transabdominal scan).

Image Modality Pregnancy Nuchal


    • Our team will provide specific instructions at the time of booking and these should be followed carefully.
    • Please arrive early for your appointment as you will need to change into a gown. We recommend wearing a separate top and bottoms during your appointment as this makes changing for the examination easier.
    • On arrival, please present to reception. You will be asked to complete a short questionnaire about your medical history.
    • We require you to have a full bladder during this scan. Please drink 500ml of water one hour before your appointment and try your best not to empty your bladder. If you experience difficulty doing this, please talk to us at the time of booking.
    • Please note you are not permitted to take photos or video during the scan. This is a medical procedure and whilst we appreciate you are excited, the health of your baby is our primary concern and we ask for your support and understanding during this clinical appointment.
    • Due to the medical nature of the appointment we ask that you are accompanied by only one other person. If you would like to bring another child, it’s important to be aware that sometimes an internal examination is also required and during this, the child will need to leave the room and be supervised.
  • You will be asked to lie down on a bed and your abdomen will need to be visible. The sonographer will do their best to protect your clothing as they apply a warmed gel to your abdomen.

    This gel helps the sonographer move the transducer over your abdomen and towards the pelvic/ovarian area.

    During a nuchal translucency scan the sonographer will measure the fluid at the back of the baby’s neck. If this area is thicker than normal, it can be an early sign of Down syndrome, trisomy 18 or cardiac problems.

    In some cases, a transvaginal ultrasound is also performed. If you'd like more information about transvaginal ultrasounds you can find this on our website.

    The sonographer and radiologist will work together during an appointment to ensure all the necessary images are captured. This means that sometimes the radiologist will come into the room. If this is the case you will be consulted before this happens.

    The results of your nuchal translucency scan will be sent directly to your referring doctor.

    Following completion of this scan you will be counseled regarding the outcome of the tests. Please ensure you book a timely follow-up appointment to discuss your results with them.

    As an accredited member of the International Research Programme for Nuchal Translucency Screening, follow up of the outcome of your pregnancy is important. Therefore, we may contact you either by mail or phone for follow-up after you have delivered your baby. Please indicate to us at the time of your examination if you do not wish to be contacted.

  • To ensure we capture all the images the Doctor needs, the Sonographer may take up to an hour to complete the scan.

How much will it cost?

Fees for radiology procedures will vary depending on a variety of factors. We will advise you about the cost of your service at the time of booking but if you do have any questions, contact us and one of our team will be happy to help with your query. You can read more about our billing information here.

How do I access my images?

At Queensland X-Ray, we provide our patients with their images and results online. To access your images and results, you’ll need to register for an account when you visit one of our practices. If you’ve already registered, you can access the Patient Portal here.

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