Sonography is better known as ultrasound. It is a medical technique rapidly
gaining popularity as a tool for seeing inside the body. And it's not just
for babies anymore!
Images of any part of the body can be recorded with sound waves. Areas
of special interest are the abdomen, female pelvis, veins and arteries, and
In its early years, ultrasound equipment had parts that looked like bristled
toothbrushes. The images obtained were grainy and had little detail. These
days, computers help create detailed images of most parts of the body, helping
medical staff diagnose and heal illness and injury.
Sonographers obtain images, then put together clinical and diagnostic findings.
They also help move patients and equipment. Work takes place in hospitals,
clinics, commercial areas and research.
Diagnostic medical sonographers may also be known as ultrasound technicians
or technologists, or ultrasonographers.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved ultrasound for use
in bone-density studies. Now chiropractors are using ultrasound for soft-tissue
spinal studies. It's also used in veterinary medicine.
"Ultrasound is being used more for intervention procedures," says Janet
Roe. She's the chief clinical sonographer at the University of Iowa Hospital.
A recent trend is the use of contrast agents -- substances that are injected
into the bloodstream to help blood vessels show up in an ultrasound study.
This allows medical professionals to see how blood flows to the organs. Roe
says ultrasound is now being used to help in surgery.
Sonographer Sandra Mayer says repetitive strain disorder is a growing problem
for sonographers. Sonographers are being taught how to prevent strain. Equipment
makers are being asked to build ultrasound machines that put less stress on