Ultrasound (also called sonography or ultrasonography) is a method of obtaining medical images.
Ultrasound is a result of the development of sonar technology during World War II. A portable device placed in contact with the patient’s skin produces high-frequency ultrasound waves and receives echoes sent by internal organs. An advantage of ultrasound is that it avoids the harmful effects of X-rays. Moreover, the equipment is portable and affordable. A disadvantage, however, is that very clear images are not obtained.
Although it was first used in the 1950s, this method of obtaining clinical imaging was used mainly after the development of computers. Ultrasound is not used to examine bones and lungs, but is widely used in obstetrics, where images can be used to locate the placenta and determine the age, position and development of the fetus. Ultrasound images are also used in other medical fields, helping to establish a quick diagnosis.