What Is Diagnostic Medical Sonography?
Diagnostic medical sonography is a profession in which a trained technician uses an ultrasound machine to visualize the inside of the human body. Ultrasound is sound with a higher frequency than humans can hear, like silent dog whistles. Medical sonographers use a hand-held tool called a transducer that emits sound waves into the body, and that same tool detects the echoes that bounce back. The process is similar to how ships use sonar to detect objects underwater. Medical sonography is one of many medical imaging technologies, but it has some unique advantages.
Attributes of Sonography
Sonographic imaging has many benefits:
- Painless: Ultrasound imaging is noninvasive and does not require any injections.
- Harmless: Unlike X-ray, no harmful radiation is used. This makes sonography the imaging method of choice for sensitive situations.
- Fast: Ultrasound machines instantly generate an internal view of the body, with no developing or processing necessary.
- Real-time: Medical sonographers view the image that is produced throughout the procedure, so internal movements and functions can be seen live.
- Portable: Ultrasound technology is less complex than other imaging methods, so machines as small as laptop computers are available.
Common Sonography Applications
Because of its safety and ease of use, diagnostic medical sonography is particularly useful in the following procedures:
- Obstetric ultrasound: safe for both pregnant mother and unborn child
- Abdominal ultrasound: more detailed imaging than abdominal X-rays
- Ultrasound guidance: accurate placement of needles and catheters
The use of ultrasound in medicine dates back to the 1940s, and with innovations such as 3D and even 4D imaging, the technology continues to advance. If you want to be at the forefront of these exciting developments, consider enrolling in a diagnostic medical sonography training program.