For ordinary people not greatly well-versed with typical medical terms, the words sonogram and ultrasound have been used interchangeably very often. Even though the two terms are closely related to each other, both of them do not exactly mean the same, literally.
To start with, both terms are associated with the same exam or test per se, owing to the vast conundrum with respect to their exact meanings. However, they have quite a literal and noticeable difference between them.
- Ultrasound is a medical imaging technique that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of internal body structures.
- Sonogram refers to the image produced by the ultrasound process, providing visual information about organs, tissues, or a developing fetus.
- While the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, ultrasound refers to the diagnostic technique, and sonogram refers to the resulting image.
Sonogram vs Ultrasound
An ultrasound is a quick, non-invasive, radiation-free technique. It is used to create a picture of a structure or location inside the body using sound waves. While a sonogram is a picture created by an ultrasound examination. It lets medical professionals assess organs for disease or injury.
In simple words, Sonogram, also called sound writing, is the output produced by Ultrasound, which is also called diagnostic sonography. This technology is greatly useful in determining infections or diseases in the body’s internal parts, mainly including internal organs and tissues.
|Parameter of Comparison||Sonogram||Ultrasound|
|Definition||A Sonogram refers to a visual image produced that is the end result of another process.||Ultrasound is the procedure of using sound waves to create images of the internal body.|
|Result vs Process||A Sonogram is the end result of an Ultrasound.||Ultrasound, on the other hand, is a procedure to create sonograms.|
|Relation to Sonography||Sonogram is a visual image produced through sonography.||Sonography is performed using an ultrasound tool.|
|Motive||Sonogram helps in evaluating organs for infections, damage or disease and in case of pregnancy, to generate images of the foetus.||Ultrasound helps doctors to get sonograms and thus insights into the inner working of a human’s body for diagnostic purposes.|
|Alternatively called||It is alternatively translated to be called ‘sound writing’.||It is alternatively called ‘Diagnostic Sonography’.|
What is Sonogram?
A Sonogram is a visual image produced by the process of ultrasound, and it uses sound waves to generate the picture. The pictures are produced owing to the fact that the sound waves reflect and bounce back once they hit a surface.
To go into detail, the tighter and more complex the surface is, the more the sound waves bounce back. For instance, sound waves easily pass through fluids, and thus they will present a completely black picture when they come in contact with urine, water or other liquids.
Moreover, upon hitting a tissue, they are bound to portray a greyish or whitish picture, directly depending on the intensity of the sound waves. And when they hit tremendously dense tissues or harder substances like the bones or the kidneys, it is evident that they present a brightening white spot in the picture.
Sonograms have been greatly useful in the field of medicine lately. They’ve played a significant role in providing the basis for the evaluation of internal organs of the body and determining and eventually curing the infections or diseases caused by the internal organs or soft tissues in the body.
What is Ultrasound?
Ultrasound is a process that makes use of sound waves to generate sonograms. In other words, it is an imaging test in the field of medicine.
They do not make use of harmful radiation but rather put into use high-frequency sound waves, which are neither harmful nor painful.
When the sound waves bounce back, they generate electrical signals, which a computer translates in order to produce images of various tissues and internal organs. Ultrasounds are either performed with a transducer put on the surface of the skin or inserted into one of the natural openings of the body in order to get a better picture.
The unique transducer insertion into the body could mainly be done in three ways: an ultrasound, involving placing the transducer, a transrectal ultrasound, involving placing the transducer; or a transoesophageal echocardiogram, which involves placing the transducer in the oesophagus.
Ultrasound is mainly put to use to help diagnose the problems pertaining to the internal organs and the soft tissues of the body and is also greatly known for being able to confirm and monitor pregnancy.
Main Differences Between Sonogram and Ultrasound
Even though sonograms and Ultrasound are related to a similar process, the terms differ in their meanings and scope.
It is easy to understand the difference between these two terms by considering that one is a process and the other an outcome of the process.
- A sonogram is a visual image which is the outcome of the process of Ultrasound.
- Ultrasound involves the usage of soundwaves to generate electrical signals, which later on are converted into visual pictures, called sonograms, by a computer.
- Ultrasound is helpful in seeing the pictures of the internal body, which will ultimately help diagnose diseases and infections to cure, from its outcome called Sonograms.
- Ultrasound is performed through a system including a computer, monitor, printer and handheld transducer, while the sonograms are created using the electrical signals by the computer only.
- Ultrasound is a delicate process using different instruments like transducers, whereas sonograms are visual pictures that can be printed physically.
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Piyush Yadav has spent the past 25 years working as a physicist in the local community. He is a physicist passionate about making science more accessible to our readers. He holds a BSc in Natural Sciences and Post Graduate Diploma in Environmental Science. You can read more about him on his bio page.