Ultrasound: Uses in Diagnostic Medicine

Published - December 15, 2014

Sonography, the medical term used for the use of ultrasound technology in the medical field, is the use of sound waves and specialized equipment to generate an image of a portion of the human body for the use of assessment and diagnosis of diseases, illnesses, and other conditions. Ultrasounds are most commonly associated with OBGYN care during pregnancy but there are many other uses for this technology and it serves many purposes in other areas of the medical field.  Following are the four main aspects of the medical field that utilizes ultrasound technology and sonography trained experts.


Obstetric and gynecologic

This is the most common use for the ultrasound technology and within this field, trained sonographers specialize in working with the female reproductive system. Included in the discipline are tasks such as fetal monitoring, reproductive care, checks for cancer, and follow up imaging after surgery or injury.


Within this field, ultrasound experts are trained to inspect a patient’s abdominal cavity and check for issues or concerns regarding the organs and systems of the abdominal region. The kidneys, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, spleen, and the reproductive system of males also fall within this use and application area. Abdominal sonographers can also do imagining of the chest region to check the lungs, heart, and throat of patients, but this is most commonly left to echocardiographers rather than a sonographer.


As the name implies, this branch of ultrasound use and application focuses on the nervous system, which includes the nervous system, spine, and brain. Neurological application in neonatal care focuses on addressing neurological and nervous issues that are present in premature infants. In older patients, the application of ultrasound technology is most commonly used to diagnose injury after an accident or to monitor mental decline or brain disorders. Like other sonographers, these experts use the ultrasound technology to create images of the body for diagnosis purposes.


Within the branch of medicine and healthcare that focuses on breast care for both men and women, these experts use sonography to study the presence and growth of cancers and other ailments. Sonography plays a large role in the detection of breast cancer and the technology of the imaging technology is used to track tumors, monitor blood flow, and help with the biopsy of breast tissue.

There are many uses for ultrasound technology within many fields of healthcare. From checking for signs of breast cancer to helping healthy babies come into the world, those trained in ultrasound technology and application can have a positive impact in the lives of many who need these imaging and diagnostic services.

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