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October is Medical Ultrasound awareness month aiming to create awareness of the role diagnostic medical sonographers play in the medical community and to educate the public about medical ultrasound and its many uses in healthcare. Most people still associate ultrasound with baby ultrasound scans. Medical ultrasound, however, has much wider uses in the medicine and it is being used to diagnose or exclude a wide of abnormalities such problems with the liver, uterus and ovaries, breasts, testes and even heart.
Medical ultrasound (also known as diagnostic sonography or ultrasonography) is a medical imaging technique that uses sound waves to produce images of internal body structures. Most of the people are aware of the navy sonar being used to track items in the sea. The sonar uses high-frequency sound waves that bounce from objects and return to the transmitter that becomes a receiver. This is the same principle with the radar that is being used to spot aeroplanes in the sky and the infamous speed cameras.
The sonar technology, therefore, has been adapted to be used in medical imaging so the sonographer or radiologists can visualise internal body structures.
Dr Dr.Karl Theodore Dussik in Austria in 1942, published the first on medical ultrasonics. The work of Professor Ian Donald and his colleagues in Glasgow, in the mid-1950s, helped to facilitate the development of practical technology and applications in medical ultrasound. Since then ultrasound technology has progressed rapidly and accelerated by the use of computers. These days ultrasound is being to used to image most of the body organs and it is the investigation of choice in pregnancy.
You can read more about the history of ultrasound in this excellent article.