Sonogram vs. Ultrasound — What’s the Difference?

Certain ideas can be confusing, such as that all frogs are toads, but not all are frogs. Asking what distinguishes sonography from ultrasound is like determining what distinguishes a carpenter from a hammer.

Because a sonographer utilizes ultrasound equipment for many different jobs, just like a carpenter uses a hammer for many kinds of nails, the ultrasound machine is an instrument of sonography, a medical specialty.

As per the report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of the ultrasound field is estimated to grow 10% by 2032. So there is a bright future in this medical field and if you are thinking of starting a career as an ultrasound technician then it would be a good choice.

You may have seen the terms sonogram and ultrasound used interchangeably; nevertheless, there is a significant difference between the two. In this article, we will explain sonogram vs ultrasound.

A Sonogram: What is it?

What is a sonogram? Sonograms are like photographs taken using an ultrasound machine. In other words, that adorable black-and-white photo of your newborn is a sonogram.

If you need help understanding your sonogram, please ask your doctor or the sonographer (another name for an ultrasound technician; these names are essentially interchangeable) to clarify what you see. Not every ultrasound visit will conclude with a photo (just the major ones), but you can always ask for a copy to take home if you would like.

An Ultrasound: What Is It?

What is ultrasound? A diagnostic tool, an ultrasound, allows you to see your unborn child while you are still pregnant. Although ultrasonography was initially utilized in a clinical setting in 1956, it was not until the 1980s that it became routinely employed in treating pregnant women. This examination causes no discomfort or risk to the mother and can be performed anytime during the pregnancy.

The use of an ultrasound is to provide pictures of the body’s interior anatomy, including organs, blood arteries, soft tissue, and blood flow. Because it does not expose the patient to radiation like X-rays do, it has replaced those in the past as the preferred method of diagnosis during pregnancy. Ultrasounds allow doctors and technicians to check the amniotic fluid, placenta, and the baby’s positioning.

Your gynaecologist may also have a tiny, portable ultrasound useful for brief glimpses but not for actual diagnoses.

The Sonogram: How Does It Function?

The use of sound waves creates a sonogram. The ultrasound technologist will use a wand-shaped transducer to direct sound waves at the body’s scanned area. When the ultrasound waves hit the tissues under investigation, they reflect through the transducer and into the computer. The computer will interpret the sound waves and create a picture the patient and technician may watch on the screen.

Only when reflected off a surface can sound waves produce an image. For instance, liquids like water or urine don’t cause sound waves to rebound because they allow the waves to pass through unimpeded. The ultrasonography will show them as dark because of this. Sound waves collide with tissue to produce a reflected picture that can be either white or grey, depending on the strength of the sound wave.

Sonograms show extremely dense tissues, such as bones and kidney stones, as brilliant white because of the abundance of echoes they create.

Read More:- Different Types of Ultrasound for Pregnancy

The Ultrasound: How Does It Function?

An ultrasound device typically measures sound waves reflected off inside human tissues. The computer in the ultrasound device interprets these sound waves into pictures in real time. Here are uses of an ultrasound and what to anticipate from an ultrasound appointment:

The gel application is as follows:

The ultrasound technician will apply a specialized gel to the study region before beginning the scan. Due to the poor transmission of sound waves via air, the gel plays a crucial role in the ultrasound process. The gel seals air and provides a secure base for the transducer to contact the skin. Therefore, sound waves can go unimpeded to and from the transducer.

Applying the transducer probe:

The technician will apply gel to a small area of the patient’s skin and then push the transducer against it. The transducer generates ultrasonic waves that penetrate the body. The transducer detects minute shifts in pitch and directional characteristics of the sound waves when they reflect off of inside organs, tissues, and fluids. The computer will immediately display the results of these measurements.

Sonogram viewing:

The technician will either store or print the pictures for further analysis. A radiologist, a specialist in analyzing imaging data, will read the sonogram and provide an interpretation. They will report back to the requesting doctor with their results.

Ultrasound procedures often involve little time or effort from the patient. The complete process usually takes between 30 and 60 minutes.

Sonogram: What Varieties Are There?

For examining soft tissues and other non-bony regions of the body, diagnostic medical sonography program is one of the most utilized diagnostic imaging techniques. Sometimes, a sonographer needs specialized education to examine a certain organ or region.

Abdominal sonography: This uses ultrasonic waves to inspect the organs and tissues within the belly

Sonography of the breast: This uses sonography for a look at the breast

Cardiac sonography: It utilizes sound waves to examine the heart’s chambers, valves, and tissues.

Musculoskeletal sonography: Joint, tendon, and ligament examination that employs ultrasound

Pediatrics sonography: This captures pictures of babies and kids using ultrasound technology

Sonography in obstetrics and gynaecology: This examines the ovaries and other female reproductive organs using ultrasound.

Read More:- Which Are The New Technologies in Ultrasound Imaging?

Ultrasounds: What Varieties Are There?

Most of us picture the wand-on-the-tummy ultrasounds anyone sees on television when they think about ultrasounds for pregnant women. However, ultrasonography comes in many varieties. Ask your doctor what kind of ultrasound you’ll receive if you know you’ll get one. Here are the two types of ultrasounds that could happen to you.

Transabdominal Ultrasound:

Most people have heard of transabdominal ultrasounds, one sort of ultrasound. Ultrasounds of the abdomen, or transabdominal, can provide information on the condition of your foetus and your uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries.

The ultrasound technician will apply a special lubricating gel on your stomach before the procedure. Next, the tech will take the transducer and carefully transfer it from your side to your gut. Although there may be some pressure from the transducer, diagnostic ultrasonography is not intrusive or uncomfortable. The gel’s coldness is the most common criticism.

Uterine Transvaginal Sonography:

The technique is the same for a transvaginal ultrasound, but the transducer is designed to be put in the vagina. This scan, unlike a transabdominal ultrasound, may cause some discomfort. A transvaginal ultrasound lets Your doctor view more information in a smaller region. IVF and other fertility therapies rely on them since they reveal any issues with a woman’s reproductive system.

The sonographer doing a transvaginal ultrasound will apply lubricating gel to the transducer before inserting it into the vagina. They may move the transducer in different directions to capture the necessary pictures, which may cause you some pressure or pain.

It is common to use both a transvaginal and a transabdominal ultrasound during the same session. Your doctor’s choice of technique will be based on their specific diagnostic needs.

Read More:- Different Types of Sonographers

3D Ultrasounds:

A 3D ultrasound is performed the same way as a regular ultrasound (so no new hazards are involved), but the resulting image is more detailed. The medical benefit of ultrasounds is that they allow your doctor to detect abnormalities in your unborn child better and provide you with a clearer picture of your pregnancy. Ask your doctor or ultrasound technician whether they provide 3D ultrasounds, as they are sometimes the norm.

Read More:- Reasons To Start A Career As An Ultrasound Technician

The Benefits of a Sonogram:

The following are some benefits:

  • Non-Invasive:
  • Sonograms are an example of a non-invasive imaging technology since they do not require radiation or incisions in the patient. When compared to other imaging modalities, this fact makes them preferable.

  • Painless:
  • Sonograms use sound waves to form pictures, and the process is completely painless for the patient. The majority of patients report feeling no pain during their examinations.

  • Safety:
  • Unlike X-rays, which can cause harm at high dosages, sonograms do not use ionizing radiation. Sonograms are preferable because of their lower radiation dose, making them ideal for children and expectant mothers.

  • Imaging on Real-time Basis:
  • Sonograms have the great benefit of providing real-time images. As a result, doctors may see moving organs and tissues and get an instantaneous read on their condition.

  • Versatility:
  • The belly, pelvis, breast, thyroid, and blood arteries are just a few of the areas that might benefit from a sonogram examination. They help evaluate organs and tissues and aid in diagnosing a wide range of diseases.

  • Cost-Effective:
  • Sonograms are less expensive than other imaging modalities like computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Their inexpensive cost makes them a go-to for first-visit diagnostics and periodic checkups.

Read More:- Skills that Make a Great Sonographer

The Benefits of an Ultrasound:

There are several benefits to ultrasound imaging over other methods:

  • Non-invasive:
  • Ultrasound imaging is non-invasive and safe since it requires no cutting or radiation.

  • Imaging in real-time:
  • Because ultrasounds produce live, real-time pictures, doctors may see organs move and function in real-time.

  • Flexibility:
  • Soft tissues, muscles, organs, and blood arteries are some areas that might benefit from an ultrasound examination.

  • Budget-Friendly:
  • Compared to other imaging methods, such as MRI or CT scans, ultrasound tends to be more budget-friendly.

Sonography and ultrasonography have several major differences, including:

Sonography and ultrasonography are essentially the same. Simply put, ultrasonography is the technology, whereas sonography is the process. The process of sonography requires the use of ultrasound equipment. Despite the common confusion, ultrasound uses sound waves to create images from within the body. An ultrasonography ultrasound exam produces the diagnostic picture.


Like any other imaging method, ultrasonography has certain inherent limitations. They are, in fact:

For obese patients, ultrasonography scans provide several challenges. The picture quality suffers because the sound waves can’t penetrate the thick layer of fat in the abdomen.

Ultrasonography is not useful for imaging organs like the brain and lungs because sound waves do not travel well through air or bone.

Ultrasound scans don’t produce highly detailed images. As an illustration, it cannot determine if a cancer is benign or malignant.


In this blog, we discussed the difference between sonogram and ultrasound. Sonograms and ultrasounds are two different types of medical imaging connected. Sonograms are the visual results of an ultrasound.

Doctors and other medical professionals often utilize them for research and diagnosis purposes. However, ultrasounds include the pictures and methods used to create them.

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What are the main differences between ultrasound and sonogram?

To create a picture (sonogram) of the developing baby and placenta, an ultrasound exam employs high-frequency sound waves to scan the mother’s belly and pelvic cavity. Ultrasound and sonography refer to the same examination, notwithstanding their differences in technical meaning.

How do you detect ultrasound and sonograms?

They employ ultrasound transducers, which generate high-frequency sound waves beyond the range of human hearing to detect ultrasound. These waves cause echoes when they hit objects or tissues. By decoding these echoes, doctors can make sonograms (also known as ultrasound images) that provide clear pictures of the body’s interior organs and systems for diagnosis and pregnancy monitoring.

Is an ultrasound and sonogram the same thing?

Sonography is the diagnostic application of ultrasound technology. In medical terms, a sonogram is the resulting image from an ultrasound operation.

Which is better: ultrasound or sonography?

Sonography is most commonly referred to as ultrasound. After the X-ray, ultrasonography is the most common form of diagnostic imaging. Internal bodily structure, including its size, shape, and density, are all visible in the picture, which aids in medical diagnosis.

What is sonogram used to detect?

Heart and heart valves are only two examples of organs that ultrasound may assist in identifying. Circulatory system. The stomach and intestines, as well as the liver, spleen, gallbladder, and pancreas.

Do you get a sonogram or ultrasound when pregnant?

Most pregnant women get an ultrasound during week 18–20 in the second trimester. Some women also choose to get an early ultrasound (or first-trimester ultrasound) before they reach 14 weeks of pregnancy. Women with health issues, including asthma and obesity, may require a modified schedule and several ultrasounds.

Is an ultrasound sometimes called a sonogram?

Using high-frequency sound waves, or ultrasound, allows for the non-invasive visualisation of inside organs, tissues, and structures. It’s a non-invasive way for doctors to examine inside organs. There are a few different names for the process known as ultrasound. Sonograms are one possible name for ultrasound pictures.

How accurate is a sonogram?

An ultrasound should have perfect accuracy in identifying a foetal heartbeat. If there is, the ultrasound can pick it up without any trouble. It is possible to see the heartbeat after seven or eight weeks of pregnancy.

How long does a sonogram take?

Depending on the reason for the scan, an ultrasound might take anywhere from 20 minutes to 40 minutes. The sonographer will provide you with paper towels (or an equivalent) to remove the gel after the operation. Get into some clothes, please.

What is the difference between ultrasound and sonography of the abdomen?

Sonography is the diagnostic application of ultrasound technology. In medical terms, a sonogram is the resulting image from an ultrasound operation.