Ultrasonography, commonly called sonography, is a diagnostic medical procedure that uses high frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to produce dynamic visual images of organs, tissues, or blood flow inside the body. This type of procedure is often referred to as a sonogram or ultrasound scan. Sonography can be used to examine many parts of the body, such as the abdomen, breasts, female reproductive system, prostate, heart, and blood vessels. Sonography is increasingly being used in the detection and treatment of heart disease, heart attack, and vascular disease that can lead to stroke. It is also used to guide fine needle, tissue biopsy to assist in taking a sample of cells from an organ for lab testing (for example, a test for cancer in breast tissue). Unlike X-rays, sonography is a radiation-free imaging modality.
The non-physician professionals who perform these procedures are known as sonographers and vascular technologists (who are sonographers specializing in imaging and tests of blood vessels).
There are several areas of specialization in the field of sonography. These specialty areas are:
Abdomen - evaluation of all the soft tissues, blood vessels and organs of the abdominal cavities (for example, liver, spleen, urinary tract, pancreas)
Breast - frequently used to evaluate breast abnormalities that are found with screening or diagnostic mammography
Obstetrics/Gynecology - evaluation of the female reproductive system
Echocardiography - evaluation of the anatomy and hemodynamics (blood flow) of the heart, its valves and related blood vessels
Vascular Technology - evaluation and analysis of the hemodynamics (blood flow) of peripheral and abdominal blood vessels
Neurosonology - evaluation of the brain and spinal cord
Ophthalmology - evaluation of the eye, including orbital structures and muscles
What does a diagnostic medical sonographer do?
A diagnostic medical sonographer is a highly-skilled professional who uses specialized...
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