Ultrasound specializations

Ultrasound specializations

As a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer, you may learn how to perform a variety of medical imaging tasks using sonography technology. Some specialize in one particular area such as obstetrics and work in the pregnancy division of the hospital, for example. Others perform multiple types of ultrasound duties such as abdominal, gynecologic, or vascular sonography. The following is a description of these various roles:

  • Cardiovascular Technology - A cardiography is a sonogram of the heart, valve function, and blood flow. As technology improves, the use of 3D and 4D imagery is becoming more common. Cardiac ultrasound is the most widely used diagnostic test for heart disease. It can show the exact size and shape of the heart as well as the pumping capacity. It can also very precisely locate any damaged tissue or abnormal blood flow. For example, it can be used to determine if blood is flowing backwards into a heart valve that is not closing all the way. In addition, it can help detect coronary artery disease and to help figure out if chest pains are related to heart disease. Learn more about cardiovascular technologist schools and career options.
  • Abdominal sonography (the liver, kidneys, spleen, pancreas and male reproductive system) – Abdominal Sonographers specialize in imaging the organs and tissues within the abdominal area such as the liver, pancreas, spleen, gall bladder, and kidneys. With the help of doppler sonography, they can also peer into the blood vessels as well. If, for example, a blood test shows high liver enzymes, a physician may order an ultrasound of the liver. The abdominal sonographer can clearly see a liver that has enlarged as well as other abnormalities such as a tumor. If there is suspicion of abnormalities in the abdominal area, a sonographer can get a very detailed view, which will help with diagnosis.
  • Vascular sonography (the circulatory system) – Vascular sonography focuses on the use of the technology to view the flow of blood through the blood vessels. It can be used to evaluate blood velocity as it flows through vessels and to find blockages or other abnormalities within the flow of blood. It can be used to detect blood clots in the legs and arms and is often used to determine if a patient may need angioplasty, which is the reopening of a blocked blood vessel. It can also be used in conjunction with other procedures in which access to the blood vessels is required.
  • Obstetric and gynecological sonography (the female reproductive system) – Obstetric Sonography focuses on the health and progress of a pregnancy. A Gynecological Sonographer uses sonographic imagery to obtain images of the female pelvic area including the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, cervix, and bladder. Their primary concern is the proper functioning and health of these organs in the female body.
  • Ophthalmology – Ophthalmology is the branch of ultrasonography in which the technology is applied to test on the eye. It can be used to obtain cross sectional images of the eye.
  • Neurosonography (the brain and nervous system) – Neurosonology is the subspecialty of sonography that is primarily concerned with application of the technology to the central nervous system, head, and neck. It has many uses including finding brain tumors and other abnormalities in the head region and is used to image stroke victims.