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What Is Sonography, and How Is It Being Used in the Healthcare Field?

February 1, 2009 0 Comments

Developed in World War II to locate submerged objects, sonography (also called ultrasound) was first used in medicine to take an inside look at prenatal development in the early 1970s. Since then, sonography has moved into multiple areas of healthcare in and it is utilized in both a diagnostic and therapeutic capacity.

Sonography is a painless medical procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce visual images of organs, tissues, or blood flow inside the body. Depending on the situation, sonography may be used to examine the abdomen, breasts, prostate, female reproductive organs, heart, blood vessels, and other areas.

In obstetrics, sonography is used to determine the number, age, and location of a fetus, as well as to check for potential birth defects. It is also used to identify abnormalities in the abdomen, such as liver disease or gallstones. Sonograms can also be used to detect heart disease. And therapeutically, sonography is often used to speed healing of injured muscles and joints through the application of deep heat.

During a sonogram, the sonographer applies an odorless, colorless gel to the area to be examined. This gel helps conduct the sound waves from the ultrasound transducer to the area of focus. The sonographer moves the transducer around on the skin, which sends a stream of high-frequency sound waves into the body that bounce off the organs and tissues inside. As the waves bounce off internal structures, they create images that appear on a monitor. The sonographer watches the monitor, and he or she looks for visual cues that indicate whether the area being studied is healthy or unhealthy. The sonographer saves and stores the most important images he or she sees, and a physician then examines those images to make a diagnosis.

Diagnostic Medical Sonography Training
The diagnostic medical sonographer who conducts the sonography is a highly-skilled professional who has received diagnostic medical sonography training. Sonographers take diagnostic medical sonography courses that instruct them on how to create images of structures inside the human body through the use of ultrasound.

Sonographers can study abdominal sonography, where they learn to detect conditions involving the gallbladder, bile ducts, liver, kidney, pancreas, and spleen. They can also receive diagnostic medical sonography training to focus on the nervous system, neonatal care, cardiology, urology, and ophthalmology.

Medical technology continues to generate new sonography procedures and applications, and as a result, there are many career opportunities for sonographers coming out of diagnostic medical sonography training programs. And as the population grows and ages, the need for professionals with diagnostic medical sonography diplomas is rapidly increasing.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities are expected to increase by about 19 percent from 2006 to 2016.

Sanford-Brown College - Cleveland is close to many locations:
Elyria, OH - approximately 22.3 miles
Lakewood, OH - approximately 8.7 miles
Medina, OH - approximately 20.8 miles
Strongsville, OH - approximately 4.8 miles

Sources:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition, Diagnostic Medical Sonographers, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos273.htm (visited February 06, 2009). 

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