Impact of Sonography Sonography is the use of high-frequency sounds, or ultrasounds, to measure distances, detect objects, and discern images that are not visible to the human eye. Ultrasounds have become indispensable to modern medicine; doctors rely on them to detect fetal abnormalities, prepare for birth, and identify disorders and illnesses in patients of all ages. The demand for qualified sonographers is rising, making sonography a secure, rewarding career.

Sonography and Modern Medicine:

Ultrasounds allow doctors to examine soft tissue, which X-Rays and CT scans cannot detect. They are essential in detecting medical conditions that exist primarily in the tissue. These conditions include:

Coronary artery disease, a condition that occurs when large quantities of plaque build up along the walls of the heart. This is one of the most common causes of heart attacks. With an ultrasound, doctors can measure the heart's chambers, identify any abnormalities in valve size, and evaluate whether the heart is pumping blood efficiently. If any of these factors is irregular, the patient is at risk for coronary artery disease, and doctors can begin treatment.

Prostate cancer is the most common cause of death in elderly men, affecting one-fifth of all men over the course of their lives. Diagnosing it early, is key to improving outcomes. Ultrasounds are necessary for doctors to run tests on prostate tissue to find prostate-specific antigen (PSA); high PSA levels mean that the patient has probably developed prostate cancer.

Thyroid disorders are the result of nodules, cysts, or tumors on the thyroid, a gland that controls the body's hormone levels. If a doctor detects a growth on the thyroid, he or she can order an ultrasound to determine the nature and extent of the growth. Based on the ultrasound, the doctor can decide whether the growth is benign or potentially harmful.

Pregnancy, though not a disease, poses many health risks for both the mother and baby. Periodic ultrasounds over the course of the pregnancy allow doctors to identify fetal or maternal health risks. They also determine the size and position of the fetus, allowing doctors to prepare for its birth and make the mother as safe and comfortable as possible.

Breast cancer: To determine if abnormal breast tissue is cancerous, doctors must perform biopsies on it, a procedure that involves inserting a needle into the breasts, harvesting tissue, and running tests on the tissue. To make sure they are harvesting the right tissue, doctors use ultrasounds to guide the biopsy needle.

Careers in Sonography:

Careers Due to the central role that sonography plays in modern medicine, the demand for ultrasound technicians is rising rapidly. The number of diagnostic medical sonographers is expected to increase by 46% over the next decade (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics), making it one of the fastest-growing professions in the country.  

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports the median wage for a sonographer is $65,860 per year. To become a sonographer, it is necessary to have an Associate's or Bachelor's degree in sonography or in vascular technology.



Sonography is one of the safest methods available to modern doctors. Unlike CT Scans and X-Rays, ultrasounds do not expose patients to harmful radiation or increase the risk of cancer. The procedure is non-invasive and relatively comfortable for the patient. The price of ultrasounds continues to fall, making it easy for hospitals to install large numbers of them.

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