What Is a Sonogram?

A Sonogram is a diagnostic tool used by medical professionals to create visuals of the inside of the human body. The test is non-invasive and uses high-frequency sound waves to produce these images. Doctors often use sonograms to check on the health of unborn babies and to diagnose various abdominal problems. Sonograms are also called ultrasounds.

What’s the Purpose of a Sonogram?

The purpose of a sonogram is to diagnose, assess, and evaluate medical conditions.  Sonograms are typically performed during pregnancy and for conditions that impact your pelvic or abdominal region.

Your doctor might order a sonogram for the following concerns:

  • Pregnancy assessment
  • Circulation complications
  • Gallbladder issues
  • Prostate trouble
  • Genital complications
  • Thyroid problems
  • Bone disease
  • Breast lump
  • Swollen joints

Types of Sonogram Imaging

Doctors use different types of sonogram images for different conditions and concerns. There are three main types of sonogram images: 2D, 3D, and 4D.

2D Sonogram

A 2D sonogram is a flat, two-dimensional image produced by an ultrasound. It is the most common type of ultrasound and has the longest history of use. 2D sonograms are used for many diagnostic purposes, including evaluating the size, shape, and location of organs and structures, assessing blood flow, and detecting abnormalities. They can also be used to evaluate pregnancy and assess fetal development.

3D Sonogram

A 3D sonogram is a type of medical imaging that uses sound waves to create a three-dimensional image. This type of sonogram can be used to assess the health of an unborn baby and to determine if there are any birth defects. In addition, a 3D sonogram can be used to help assess the risk of miscarriage or preterm labor.

4D Sonogram

A 4D ultrasound is a three-dimensional (3D) image of the fetus that is captured in real time. 4D ultrasounds provide expectant parents with a clear, lifelike view of their baby, allowing them to see the movement of the baby’s face, hands, and feet. In addition, 4D ultrasounds can be used to assess fetal development and look for potential anomalies.

Sonogram Results

A sonogram usually takes 30 minutes. Once your sonogram is complete, a radiologist is often able to interpret a sonogram within a few minutes. As soon as the radiologist's report is ready, your doctor will share the sonogram results with you. If necessary, they will explain the next steps in a diagnostic or treatment protocol.