Research Paper Example: Diagnostic Medical Sonography

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Vanderbilt University
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Research paper
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A Sonographer

An interesting profession in the medical field is that of a sonographer. From a general perspective, a sonographer refers to a medical specialist whose major interest is on diagnostic medical ultrasound or sonography (Porter 798). The sonography, in this case, refers to a medical diagnostic process that entails using sound waves that have a high frequency or rather ultrasound to bring about lively images of body tissues, organs and the flow of blood. The term used to define such a procedure is identified as the ultrasound scan (Porter 798). The analysis puts into view the history, the scope and the legal issues which are affiliated with the diagnostic medical sonography on the profession of a sonographer.


Diagnostic medical sonography refers to a diverse medical profession that includes various areas of specialization. The areas include; abdominal sonography, breasts sonography, obstetrics/gynecology sonography, cardiac sonography, phlebology sonography, vascular technology sonography, pediatric sonography and other developing areas in the field. It is important to note that all these areas require the utilization of ultrasound as a primary necessity of treatment. The sonographer, therefore, refers to an individual who offers ultrasound services and the associated diagnostic procedures to the patients. It is expected for a sonographer to be both academically and clinically prepared for him or her to engage in professional practice. The standard associated with the professional practice includes a certification that shows that one can illustrate and maintain competency in the field in addition to maintaining the certification in the endorsed areas in the field.

History of Sonography

The field regarding sonography is viewed to undergo regular changes with respect to treatment and diagnosis. The associated technologies have also developed and continue evolving. It is perceived that the development of new procedures regarding ultrasound increases the demand for technicians who are specialized in them. The Bureau of Labor Statistics holds the view that about forty-four percent of the sonographers will be present in the year 2020 when compared to the number that was present in 2010 (UltraSoundSchoolsInfo). The field of sonography can be dated from the year 1794 whereby Lazzaro Spallanzani, who was a physiologist, was the first person to analyze the concept of echolocation in bats. The echolocation is perceived to set the foundation of ultrasound physics. In the year 1877, piezoelectricity was discovered by the brothers Jacques Currie and Pierre Currie. The piezoelectricity is perceived to result in the piezoelectric effect that includes the emission of probes which are Ultrasound transducers in addition to receiving sound waves. In 1915, Paul Langevin, who was a physicist, was instructed to develop a device that would be able to view objects located beneath the ocean. The idea was inspired by the tragic incident of the Titanic. The physicist came up with the hydrophone which is commonly identified as the first transducer. Between the 1920s and the 1940s, sonography was utilized to as medication to the teams in the European Soccer as a technique in physical therapy to conciliate eczema and arthritic pain in addition to sterilizing the vaccines. In 1942, Karl Dussik, a neurologist received accreditation for being the first individual to integrate sonography in the medical diagnoses. Dussik was able to transmit ultrasound beams to the skull to assess the presence of brain tumors. In 1948, an internist, George D. Ludwig, M.D., invented the A-mode ultrasound used in the detection of gallstones. Between the years, 1949 and 1951, Joseph Holmes and Douglas Howry initiated the invention of B-mode ultrasound tool and the 2D B-mode linear compound scanner. Also, John Wild and John Reid came up with the B-mode equipment to assess the breast tumors. In 1953, C. Hellmuth Hertz and Inge Edler successfully executed an echocardiogram by using a control tool from Siemens referred to as an echo test. In the year 1958, the use of ultrasound was integrated introduced in the OB/GYN area of medicine by Doctor Ian MacDonald. In 1966, John Reid, Dennis Watkins, and Don Baker developed a pulse ultrasound equipment used in the imaging of the flow of blood. The 1970s were marked by various developments regarding ultrasound equipment. In the 80s, a 3D ultrasound equipment was invented by Kazunori Baba from the University of Tokyo. The invention was able to obtain a 3D image of a fetus. In the year 1989, sonography began to be integrated into the intensive care units. In the 1990s, the technology regarding ultrasound continued to become sophisticated on 3D imaging and image quality. The advancements progressed with the introduction of 4D capabilities in addition to ultrasound biopsies during the 1990s. From the year 2000 to the present, ultrasound technologies keep on developing or rather advancing similarly to other technologies in the various fields. According to the information from the ultrasound school, A variety of compact, handheld devices have come onto the market in recent years. The iPhone now has a telesonography app, and NASA has developed a virtual guidance program for non-sonographers to perform ultrasounds in space (UltraSoundSchoolsInfo).

Scope Associated with Sonography

As stated earlier, a sonographer is expected to be competent in their field of expertise. The certification of the expert is expected to emanate from an institution which is accredited. Examples include the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), the Organization for Standardization and American National Standards Institute (Scope of Practice and Clinical Standards for the Diagnostic Medical Sonographer 1). It is important to note that regardless of the common nature of the ultrasound equipment in the entire sonography field, the expertise, competency, and knowledge among sonographers tends to differ depending on their areas of specialization. Also, when engaging in any processes associated with the basic sonography, it is expected for a sonographer to illustrate competency in his or her area of specialization by obtaining the relevant education, certification, and training. The key areas include; abdominal sonography, obstetrical/gynecological sonography, cardiac sonography, and vascular technology/sonography. Also, when engaging in any processes associated with the secondary sonography, it is expected for a sonographer to illustrate competence by receiving certification in the field of specialization from an accredited institution. The secondary areas, in this case, include; musculoskeletal sonography, breast sonography, fetal cardiac sonography, phlebology sonography, pediatric sonography, and the diagnostic medical sonographer. It is expected for all organizations that provide accreditation and employers to ensure maintenance of certification regarding sonography in all fields of specialization (Scope of Practice and Clinical Standards for the Diagnostic Medical Sonographer 1).

Legal issues associated with the practice

Similarly to any medical profession, a sonographer is expected to abide by certain ethical principles. It is expected for the ultrasound professionals to be aware of the legal accountability associated with the profession (Society and College of Radiographers and British Medical Ultrasound Society 11). The legal awareness also puts into providing reports on all ultrasound tests in all situations. The ultrasound report is viewed as part of the medical records of a patient including the images and videos that may be present. It is also expected to have patient consent before performing an ultrasound and informing the patient of the results present in his or her reports. An individual is considered to be a competent sonographer when he or she delivers as per the professional standards. The standards, in this case, are defined by the rules and regulations present in the workplace, an institutions code of conduct, and the guidelines of the regulatory agencies associated with the profession. The standard of care of a practitioner is expected to be similar to other professionals in the field to ensure that quality care is provided and maintained. It is expected for all images that are obtained from an ultrasound to align with the examination in addition to having correct information regarding the patient and the time and date used in conducting the ultrasound. Also, all the images should be arranged depending on a particular order such that it becomes easier for authorized parties to locate them (Society and College of Radiographers and British Medical Ultrasound Society 11).

As stated earlier, the analysis puts into view the history, the scope and the legal issues which are affiliated with the diagnostic medical sonography with respect to the profession of a sonographer. Sonography can be perceived to have undergone significant developments from the time that it was introduced in the medical field. The history regarding the profession implies that there have been major changes in the imaging of patients. The analysis also includes the utilization of ultrasound in various areas of specialties in which sonographers are expected to be competent in their areas of specialization. The basic assumption is that the number of sonographers is expected to increase by 2020 as a result of the regular advancements or changes taking place in the field.


Works Cited

Porter, Thomas R., et al. "Guidelines for the cardiac sonographer in the performance of contrast echocardiography: a focused update from the American Society of Echocardiography." Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography 27.8 (2014): 797-810.

Scope of Practice and Clinical Standards for the Diagnostic Medical Sonographer. "Scope of Practice and Clinical Standards for the Diagnostic Medical Sonographer." Sdms.Org, 2015. Retrieved 27 October 2017 from,

Society and College of Radiographers and British Medical Ultrasound Society. Guidelines for Professional Ultrasound Practice. Society and College of Radiographers and British Medical Ultrasound Society, 2015. Retrieved 27 October 2017 from

UltraSoundSchoolsInfo. "History of Ultrasound." Ultrasoundschoolsinfo.Com, 2017. Retrieved 27 October 2017 from


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