A sonographer is a healthcare professional who specialises in the use of ultrasound imaging devices to produce diagnostic images, scans, videos or three-dimensional volumes of anatomy and diagnostic data, frequently a radiographer, but may be any healthcare professional with the appropriate training to perform ultrasound scans.
Most people associate medical sonography with ultrasound scans during pregnancy, as sonogram pictures are the most common way to view a foetus. There are many things that sonography, also called ultrasound technology, is used for in the medical field. Ultrasound is used for looking inside the body painlessly, and as such can be used to track blood in the circulatory system, view tendons and ligaments, ensure the proper functioning of digestive organs, and much more.
At International Ultrasound Services our two sonographers and founders provide a wide range of private ultrasound direct to our community in London, including early pregnancy scans as well as Wellman and well-woman scans.
A medical sonographer uses a sonography machine which bounces sound waves off of structures within the body to get a picture of what’s going on inside. Ultrasound examinations require that the medical sonographer has close contact with patients and that the sonographer know how to interpreter the results.
Education and Training
Medical sonographers have a lot of different choices for how they want to go about their training. They can study an undergraduate course or obtain postgraduate qualifications after they have finished a relevant undergraduate course such as radiography or midwifery.
A sonographer is required to operate and maintain complex ultrasound equipment in order to perform sonographic procedures. Operating sonography equipment and producing high-quality images takes a significant amount of training and practice.
The ultrasound process involves applying a gel to the skin in the area that needs to be examined which helps with the transmission of sound waves. Then the sonographer places an acoustic transducer on the patient’s skin. The transducer produces high-frequency sound waves that are transmitted into the body.
These sound waves bounce around the parts inside the patient’s body and then come back to the transducer which detects these wave echoes and how they bounce around inside the body. Structures in the body will reflect these sound waves differently. Mapping these waves together produces an image of the body’s internal structures. The sonographer’s goal is to move and manipulate the transducer over the body in order to obtain the best view of the situation inside the patient.
These acoustic signals are then converted into electronic signals to create a digital image of internal organs, blood vessels and other structures. These images can be viewed on a monitor and can be recorded on video for use by other medical professionals, such as doctors, surgeons and radiologists.
The sonographer will issue a medical report that will be used by the clinicians to identify the best way of treatment associated with the patient’s symptoms and ultrasonic findings.
A sonographer spends more time with their patients than many other health care professionals. The ultrasound process is very “hands-on”, and many sonographers appreciate the amount of patient contact they get to be involved with.
While some sonographers specialise in a certain area, others perform on a variety of patients and conditions. Many sonographers work in tracking foetal health and development. Other specialities include abdominal, adult and paediatric heart and vascular procedures. A cardiac sonographer (also known as an echocardiographer) works on researching the heart and supporting vein system.