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Sonogram vs. Ultrasound — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Updated on September 22, 2023
Sonogram is a visual image produced from ultrasound waves. Ultrasound is the sound waves used in medical imaging. While the ultrasound is the process, the sonogram is the result.
Sonogram vs. Ultrasound — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Sonogram and Ultrasound


Key Differences

The terms Sonogram and Ultrasound are frequently used interchangeably in medical contexts, but they represent different aspects of a diagnostic technique. The ultrasound refers to the actual technology that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of structures inside the body. These sound waves are emitted by a transducer and then reflected back, creating echoes that are processed to form an image.
On the other hand, a sonogram is the visual image produced from the ultrasound procedure. When the echoes from the ultrasound waves are collected, they are transformed into a picture that depicts the internal structures, such as organs or a fetus in the womb. This image is what doctors and technicians analyze to make assessments or diagnoses.
In essence, the ultrasound is the method or procedure, and the sonogram is the outcome or result. The ultrasound process, through its sound waves, captures a live view of what's happening inside the body. The sonogram, as the static or dynamic image, provides a tangible representation that medical professionals can review.
In everyday conversation, it's not uncommon for people to mention they're getting an "ultrasound" when referring to the image itself. However, in a more technical context, differentiating between the procedure (ultrasound) and the image (sonogram) is essential for clarity.

Comparison Chart


The visual image produced
The technology or procedure


Result of the procedure
The process itself


Refers to the picture or image
Refers to the method or technique


Analyzed by medical professionals
Used by technicians during the procedure

Common Misconception

Often used synonymously with ultrasound
Sometimes used to refer to the image instead of the process

Compare with Definitions


An image representing internal structures.
The sonogram revealed a healthy heart.


The method producing sonograms.
Ultrasound technology has advanced rapidly over the years.


The visual outcome of an ultrasound.
The doctor showed us the sonogram of our baby.


A diagnostic technique using high-frequency sound waves.
She will undergo an ultrasound to check her liver.


The static or dynamic image from sound wave reflections.
The sonogram showed the blood flow in the arteries.


Sound waves above human hearing used for imaging.
Ultrasound waves help visualize soft tissues in the body.


A diagnostic picture used in medical assessments.
Based on the sonogram, everything seems normal.


A procedure that captures live views of the body's interior.
The ultrasound showed the baby moving.


A tangible representation of ultrasound echoes.
The sonogram provides a clear view of the kidneys.


Ultrasound is sound waves with frequencies higher than the upper audible limit of human hearing. Ultrasound is not different from "normal" (audible) sound in its physical properties, except that humans cannot hear it.


An image, as of a fetus in utero or an internal body organ, produced by ultrasonography. Also called sonograph, ultrasonogram.


Sound or other vibrations having an ultrasonic frequency, particularly as used in medical imaging
An ultrasound scanner


A medical image produced by ultrasound echo


Ultrasonic sound.


A spectrogram


The use of ultrasonic waves for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes, specifically to image an internal body structure, monitor a developing fetus, or generate localized deep heat to the tissues.


To perform a sonogram upon.


An image produced by ultrasound.


An image of a structure that is produced by ultrasonography (reflections of high-frequency sound waves); used to observe fetal growth or to study bodily organs


(physics) Sound with a frequency greater than the upper limit of human hearing, which is approximately 20 kilohertz.


(medicine) The use of ultrasonic waves for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes.


(ambitransitive) To treat with ultrasound.


Very high frequency sound; used in ultrasonography


Using the reflections of high-frequency sound waves to construct an image of a body organ (a sonogram); commonly used to observe fetal growth or study bodily organs


A non-invasive way to explore internal structures.
The doctor recommended an ultrasound to rule out any issues.

Common Curiosities

What is a sonogram?

A sonogram is the visual image produced from an ultrasound procedure.

Can I get a sonogram for non-medical reasons?

Yes, but it's always best to consult a medical professional before any procedure.

Is ultrasound radiation harmful?

No, ultrasound uses sound waves, not radiation, and is considered safe.

How does ultrasound work?

Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to capture images of the body's internal structures.

How long does an ultrasound procedure take?

Typically, an ultrasound can take anywhere from 15 to 60 minutes, depending on the purpose.

How is a sonogram produced?

A sonogram is produced when echoes from ultrasound waves are transformed into a visual image.

Is there a difference between a sonogram and an ultrasound?

Yes, while ultrasound refers to the procedure, a sonogram is the resulting image.

Is the gel used during an ultrasound necessary?

Yes, the gel improves the transmission of sound waves for clearer images.

Can ultrasound detect all internal issues?

While useful, ultrasound may not detect every condition; other diagnostics might be needed.

Is there any preparation needed before an ultrasound?

It varies; some require fasting or a full bladder, while others need no preparation.

Why are sonograms used during pregnancy?

Sonograms allow doctors to monitor fetal development, position, and detect potential issues.

Can I keep the sonogram image after the procedure?

Yes, many clinics provide patients with a copy of their sonogram.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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