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Sonography, more commonly known as ultrasound, is a diagnostic medical procedure used to visualize anatomical structures inside a living body. This technique involves using high-frequency sound waves to produce dynamic visual images of blood flow, tissues, and organs. One common use for sonography is in abdominal ultrasound, which allows medical professionals and mothers-to-be to check up on the growth and health of a developing fetus.
Bone and Gas
The main disadvantage of sonography is its inability to penetrate bone. This makes visualization of some areas of the body very difficult, if not impossible. The presence of gas also affects the visual quality of ultrasound images, as gas induces poor quality image output. Poor quality images are difficult for medical professionals to interpret, which often means another form of diagnostic procedure is necessary.
Another disadvantage of ultrasound technology involves body size of the patient. Sonography visualization problems can arise when the target area is deep within the body. Image quality is often poor in this case. Obese patients are typically not good candidates for sonography because of these visualization problems.
Sonography is completely dependent on the skill of the operator. A diagnostic procedure performed by a poorly trained ultrasound technician or a well-trained technician making an error can produce inconsistent and incorrect results. Sonography is an extremely safe, useful procedure, but it's only accurate as long as its operator's performance is without error.
A final disadvantage of sonography is the qualifications necessary to use it. Ultrasound technicians are highly trained and specialized. Ultrasound technicians complete at least two to four years of medical training before entering the work force. Additionally, technicians undergo continuing education throughout their career to stay updated on current information and procedure modifications within the field. Demand for ultrasound technicians is expected to grow as the baby boomers age.