A sonogram, also called an ultrasound scan or sonography, is a type of diagnostic imaging that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of structures inside the body. It is usually performed by trained technicians called sonographers. A sonogram is most often used to visualize fetal development during pregnancy, as well as to assess heart function, and look for abnormalities in the abdomen and pelvis. It can also be used to detect problems with the heart, blood vessels, kidneys, and other tissues and organs. During pregnancy, the purpose of a sonogram is to check on the health of the baby and the mother, as well as to determine the due date.
The images produced by a sonogram are black and white. They are not as detailed as those produced by other imaging modalities such as computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). However, they can provide important information about the structure and function of internal organs and tissues.
Sonography can be used to diagnose a variety of conditions, including:
- Fetal gestational age
- Fetal abnormalities
- Fetal age and growth
- Vital signs of the fetus
- Placenta location
- Fetal position
- Uterine fibroids
- Ovarian cysts
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Abnormalities of the uterus or Fallopian tubes
Risk Associated with Sonogram
Sonograms are generally safe, but there are some potential risks. The most common complication is false positives, which occur when the test results indicate a problem when there is none. False negatives are also possible, which occur when the test results fail to detect a problem that is present. In rare cases, exposure to the sound waves used in sonography can cause tissue damage or burns. Another complication is that they can miss small abnormalities, particularly if they are deep within the body. There are also very rare cases of physical injury from the sound waves.
This image shows how often the term ‘Sonogram’ is used in relation to other, similar birth terms:
Other Related Terms
There are several terms that are closely associated with sonograms. These include:
Fetal ultrasound: This is another term for a sonogram of a developing baby.
3D ultrasound: This is a type of sonogram that creates three-dimensional images.
4D ultrasound: This is a type of sonogram that creates four-dimensional images.
Doppler ultrasound: This is a type of sonogram that can assess blood flow and other movements.
Do you know a man who wants to learn more about birth? Send him our way! Also, men and women are welcome to join our free public community of Dads helping Dads be better at birth.