What is a sonogram?
A sonogram is a common, non-invasive procedure that allows doctors – most often, but not exclusively obstetricians – to view patient’s internal organs without the need to perform surgery.
The sonogram is literally the image that is produced during ultrasonography. Ultrasonography is a diagnostic imaging technique which uses ultrasound’s high frequency to display whatever is inside of the body – which in most cases will be a baby.
The sonogram helps the doctor view a fetus’ development, which includes calculating the fetus’ age, due date, and determining if there are multiple fetuses. Although, sonograms are most commonly used for pregnant women, they also help other patients as well. Sonograms can help identify pelvic bleeding or cancerous cells.
What is the difference between a sonogram and an ultrasound?
You may have heard the words “ultrasound” and “sonogram” used almost interchangeably. It is easy to get these two terms confused, especially if you are new to the procedure.
A ultrasound exam creates a sonogram image. Ultrasound is the medical procedure; sonogram is the result.
That is the simplest way to remember the difference between sonogram and ultrasound. However, there are other terms that may confuse the matter a bit. For example, ultrasonography is the imaging technique that uses ultrasound pulses to identify objects of different densities within the body.
Ultrasound has many different uses. It is also used to measure the purity or uniformity of liquid, to determine water’s depth, and to search for objects that are trapped underwater.
Fun fact: whales and dolphins use ultrasound to communicate, to navigate, and to capture their prey! They send out noise that is returned to them in the form of an echo. This echo tells them the shape, size, and location of an object in question.
Ultimately, sonogram and ultrasound mean different things, but it is perfectly fine if you get them turned around! They are both parts of the same procedure, and your doctor will understand what you are discussing regardless of which term you use.
How does it work?
Simply put, ultrasound waves are used in an ultrasound exam. These high-frequency waves scan your abdomen and pelvis, allowing your doctor to see inside your body. These waves emit echoes, which bounce off the structures inside the body to be recorded. The computer helps create an accurate picture of what is taking place inside the body in real-time. It is a completely non-invasive procedure, meaning your skin is not broken and there is no pain. It also doesn’t produce any radiation.
First, the doctor or sonographer will place a cool gel on the area they are going to view. They will use a transducer, a handheld device, to spread around the gel to make sure the waves will not be distorted by anything. The transducer is connected to the computer with a cord and will emit high-frequency sound waves into your body. Humans will not be able to hear the high-frequency sound waves, but the microphone in the transducer can. Most examinations will be performed with a transducer or probe to record the echoes. The echoes will bounce back to determine the size and shape of the objects inside and will project the image on the computer.
Who needs a sonogram?
Sonograms aren’t just for pregnant women. Men and women can undergo this procedure – even a child’s heart, blood vessels, kidneys, liver, and other organs can be viewed on a sonogram. The ultrasound images can even show the blood flowing through the blood vessels.
If you are an expecting mother, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t get an ultrasound – unless your doctor tells you not to! Ultrasounds are fast, painless, and help ensure your baby is safe. You’ll also learn a lot more about your child than you knew before. You can find out their size, due date, blood flow, organs, appendages, and facial construction.
What does a sonogram look like?
Conventional ultrasounds display the sonograms as thin and flat. However, new technology offers more life-like views. Today, there is three-dimensional (3-D) ultrasound imaging and even four-dimensional (4-D0 imaging. The sound wave data helps the computers graft 3-D images, and the 4-D presents the 3-D ultrasound in motion.
Institute for Women’s Health
If you are interested in receiving a sonogram, visit the largest OBGYN and fertility practice in San Antonio, the Institute for Women’s Health. We have eight sonographers on our team! You’ll also have access to more than thirty of the best OBGYNs in town. Plus, we have eight convenient locations. For more information, call 34-WOMAN or 210-349-6626.