Radiology Myth Buster: Medical Sonography (Ultrasound) Is Only Used to Image a Pregnant Woman

Medical sonography is an ultrasound diagnostic imaging technique used to visualize many internal organs without ionizing radiation. The most well known application for ultrasound is to produce pictures of a fetus in the mother's uterus, but this is just one of a vast number of medical uses for this fascinating technology.

Dr. Ronald Adler, Chief, Division of Ultrasound and Body CT in the Department of Radiology and Imaging at Hospital for Special Surgery has been pioneering new uses for ultrasound for orthopedic conditions including using it as a diagnostic tool to identify early signs of inflammatory arthritis and to monitor blood flow patterns during healing following certain injuries or surgical repair of tendons. Ultrasound is also being used for image guided therapeutic injections to treat conditions such as calcific tendinitis and neuromas. Ultrasound procedures are often favored by patients over other imaging studies for several reasons; it involves direct interaction between the physician and the patient, does not emit harmful ionizing radiation associated with other imaging procedures such as X- ray, fluoroscopy and CT, and also because it is less expensive than MR or CT.

The key to ultrasound technology and its diagnostic value is experience. Radiologists, trained in the performance and interpretation of ultrasound during residency and fellowship, are a significant component to the value an ultrasound examination can provide.