After X-ray technology was known, further advancement led to the discovery of sonography. This technique was first used to allow ships to detect unseen objects underwater. Sophisticated equipment concentrated ultrasound - high frequency sound waves - which "bounced off" the object and created a graphic image. The technique was originally developed between the first and second world wars.
In the early 1950s, medical researchers began to explore the use of sonography on the human body, at first to see the inner workings of the heart. Today, what began as a way to see the wreck of the Titanic far under the ocean and to detect enemy submarines in wartime, is used to examine many internal body systems.
Sonography is a diagnostic medical procedure used to screen for health issues by examining soft tissue. Ultrasound simply means that these sound waves are of a higher frequency than the human ear can detect. The sound waves are transmitted and reflected from the structure being studied and it is these echoes that form a picture image of the organ on a computer screen. Sonography is not painful and is generally considered safe.
The general public is most familiar with the usage of sonography during pregnancy to check on the age and development of a fetus. A medical sonogram is often the first glimpse that parents have of their baby. Ultrasound has other medical uses including breaking up kidney stones, cataract treatment, guiding medical procedures such as fine-needle biopsy and some cancer treatments. Dentists may also use it for cleaning teeth.
Today, hand-held transducers, the device which transmits the sound waves, are replacing huge sonography machines. Easy portability can lead to faster diagnoses. With health care in general as a growth field, ultrasound technicians will be in demand. A competent technician is the key to a well-defined sonograph that can assist a correct diagnosis.
When considering schooling, it is important to find an accredited training program as not all programs offered will lead to the proper credentials. Salaries vary by specialty, location and the kind of facility in which a technician is employed. Further training in specialities such as cardiac ultrasound or neurosonography can command higher salaries.
Because of such advances, people are living longer today. There is a growing need for ultrasound sonography to help combat ailments that people did not have a chance of surviving a hundred years ago when the technology was first being developed in a time of war.