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Diagnostic Medical Sonographers | What Do They Do?

Diagnostic medical sonographers typically do the following:

  • Prepare patients for procedures by taking a patientís history and answering any questions about the procedure
  • Prepare and maintain imaging equipment
  • Apply a gel to aid the sound wavesí ability to show the inside of the body
  • Operate equipment to get diagnostic images of areas in the patientís body
  • Analyze the images to check for quality and adequate coverage of the area needed for diagnosis
  • Recognize the difference between normal and abnormal images
  • Analyze images to provide preliminary findings for physicians
  • Record findings and keep track of patientsí records

Diagnostic ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of the inside of the body. The sonographer presses an instrument called an ultrasound transducer to the parts of the patientís body that are being examined. The transducer emits pulses of sound that bounce back, causing echoes. The echoes are then sent to the ultrasound machine, which processes them and displays them as images.



Diagnostic medical sonographers specialize in different parts of the body. The following are examples of specific types of sonographers:

Abdominal sonographers specialize in imaging a patientís abdominal cavity and nearby organs, such as the kidney, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, or spleen.

Breast sonographers specialize in imaging a patientís breast tissues. Sonography aids mammography in the detection of breast cancer.  Breast sonography is also used to track tumors in breast cancer patients.

Musculoskeletal sonographers specialize in imaging muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints.

Neurosonographers specialize in imaging a patientís nervous system, including the brain.

Obstetric and gynecologic sonographers specialize in imaging the female reproductive system. Many pregnant women receive ultrasounds to track the baby's growth and health..

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition


for State specific information, visit  JOB OUTLOOK BY STATE



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