The most familiar use of diagnostic medical sonography, or ultrasound imaging, is during pregnancy. The technique is a non-invasive way to evaluate the health of a developing baby. High-frequency sound waves move through the mother’s body and send back echoes, translating into images that show what is going on in her body as well as the body of the fetus.
This form of imaging is not limited to obstetric care, however. Ultrasound helps diagnosis abnormal growths in organs, including the heart, problems in the brain. It is a major part of breast health screening. If a routine mammogram, or specialized breast x-ray, finds a potential problem, a breast ultrasound is usually the next step.
Ultrasound technicians must have detailed knowledge of human anatomy and what healthy and diseased organs and tissues look like so they can target the right areas inside the body. Regardless of what will be examined, these health professionals start by explaining the procedure to the patient and reviewing and recording relevant medical history. They also must know what position the patient needs to be in to get the best images. This can mean lifting or turning patients who cannot move on their own.