Ultrasound vs. Sonogram

It is a common misconception that sonograms and ultrasounds are just different words to refer to the same thing. This mystery is fairly easy to clear up by learning a few basics about an ultrasound vs. sonogram. Ultrasonography is a type of diagnostic imaging that relies on ultrasounds to create a visualization of areas inside the body. The image that is produced by this process is the sonogram. Ultrasound is a sound that has a frequency of around 20 kHz, or above what is typically audible to humans. Despite these differences, most people use both the word sonogram and ultrasound to refer to the procedure of ultrasonography.

Comparison Chart of Ultrasound vs. Sonogram





The ultrasound examines the body’s inner workings.

The sonogram is the digital image that is created from an ultrasonic examination.


Ultrasounds are used to produce sonograms. Experts in other fields also use them to determine how deep water is or make sure liquids are uniform.

As an image, the sonogram is the method of documenting the examination.

Ultrasound vs. Sonogram


The actual exam that takes place is known as an ultrasound. During this examination, the doctor will apply an ultrasound gel to the patient’s body in the area to be scanned. The gel is specifically designed to help transmit the high-frequency sound waves. The gel also works as a lubricant, allowing the doctor to easily move the transducer on top of their patient’s skin. This process allows the transducer to collect and transmit the sound waves traveling through and bouncing back from the body. It then sends the data back to the computer where it creates a sonogram, or internal image.


The image generated during the ultrasound procedure is known as a sonogram. It can be compared to an x-ray since it gives medical professionals the ability to visualize the internal body, which is useful for diagnostics. Sonograms are particularly helpful during pregnancy as they let doctors create a live feed with images of the fetus which is growing. This allows them to determine the due date and check for abnormalities. Sonograms are also used to check patients for medical issues like internal bleeding or other problems that wouldn’t be visible from the outside. While X-rays and CT scans rely on radiation to create the image, an ultrasound does not. Because of this, it is safe to use on pregnant women without endangering them or their fetus.

How Is An Ultrasound Performed?

How to Perform

To better understand the difference between an ultrasound vs. sonogram, it helps to know how an ultrasound is performed. It is typically done using a handheld probe that is coated using a water-based gel. The probe is then guided on top of the patient’s skin, operating like a submarine would when using sonar. In other words, the ultrasound machine collects data based on the speed with which sound waves return and uses this to form an image depicting the interior of the patient’s body. This image can then be recorded for use later or viewed live on the connected screen.

The Advantages of Ultrasound

Doctors prefer ultrasounds in many situations because they do not rely on radiation, like other diagnostic tests do, and they are also noninvasive. This means that ultrasounds won’t cause any damage to the tissue and the patient doesn’t even need to prepare. The best-known use for ultrasonic exams is in fetal monitoring and obstetrics. Most people looking to understand an ultrasound vs. sonogram are expectant parents since most unborn babies are examined carefully well before leaving the womb. There are also, however, many other diagnostic tests that take advantage of ultrasounds.

How to Read a Sonogram

The first part of being able to read a sonogram, or ultrasound image, is being familiar with the anatomy on display. Each body tissue will conduct sound in a different way, with some reflecting sound waves and others absorbing them. The tissue density will determine how fast the echoes return.

To read a sonogram, keep in mind that tissue will always be gray and fluid will be black. If tissue is denser, it will appear as a brighter shade of white. Bone will be the brightest white on the screen.

                                       Bone                       Tissue                         Fluid

As you view more images, it becomes much easier to understand them because of practice. It also helps to use high-quality ultrasound equipment that comes from a creditable company.

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