New Advancements for Ultrasound Techs

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Ultrasound techs work in one of the most technologically advanced industries that is prone to further medical advancements every year.  One of the most recent discoveries in the sonography world is that a small placenta can critically endanger a fetus by limiting the amount of food and oxygen it receives.  The New York Times wrote an article delving into this new discovery last year, citing the research that Yale scientists had developed to measure the volume of the placenta during pregnancy.  Using an ultrasound, doctors are now able to measure the volume of the placenta in a similar manner as many of us measure the fuel in a gas gauge. 

Ultrasound techs are the main factor in this new discovery and are the people who must carefully monitor the volume and level of the placenta to ensure that the baby is born without any complications.  Quoting different doctors who participated in the research the Yale scientists conducted, the Times article demonstrates that this technique allows ultrasound techs and doctors to be able to act before the levels reach a critical point.  Still comparing the research to a fuel tank, the doctors liken the volume in a placenta to the moment before your car runs out of gas.  It is a frightening thought for many first-time mothers who may have been told that they have a small placenta for maintaining a fetus.  However, Dr. Harvey Kliman and his father, Merwin Kliman, were able to derive a formula for finding the placenta’s volume using measurements taken from an ordinary ultrasound halfway through the pregnancy.

They use these measurements to determine the placenta’s height, width, and thickness at maximum height and ensure that the fetus is still able to absorb enough nutrients.  Dr. Kliman cited a few problems with the shape of the placenta, but inevitably said that this formula can be programmed into any ultrasound machine, stepping up the responsibilities of an ultrasound tech and leaving new mothers with a new peace of mind.  The past few years have seen a flurry of activities with the usage of ultrasounds, and this is only the latest step of many that have indicated how much we now rely on the knowledge of ultrasound techs and doctors who help interpret the ultrasounds.  We have come a long way from the first days of ultrasound technology (we thought it was amazing back then!) and who knows what the next few years will bring.


Ultrasound Technologists and the New Uses of Ultrasounds

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Ultrasounds have been around for decades, but previously served only the purpose of showing new parents their growing baby.  Since this point, ultrasound technologists have received heightened responsibilities that include detecting cancerous cells, detecting abnormalities in fetuses, and even participating in the treatment of cancer.  Ultrasounds have now been broken into different examinations which will each be discussed below.

Abdominal ultrasounds
Abdominal ultrasounds are procedures used to examine the internal organs of the abdomen, especially useful for patients suffering from afflictions of their liver, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, and kidneys.  With the modern diet many people now subscribe to, illnesses in the abdomen are becoming more prevalent since our bodies are not used to the additional supplements we are giving it; ultrasounds help combat these diseases by informing us early on if we have any signs of illness. 

Breast Ultrasound
Breast ultrasound uses sound waves to look at the breast and is especially useful in screening younger women for signs of cancerous cells.  While older women usually take a mammogram for the same reason, ultrasounds have been found to be very accurate in detecting cancerous cells in the breast tissue.

Doppler Ultrasounds
Doppler ultrasounds are typically used in examinations of an arm or leg.  These tests examine the blood flow in major arteries and veins found on the arms and legs; the exam is typically performed to help detect clogged arteries or other  insufficiencies in the blood stream.

Duplex Ultrasound
Similar to the doppler ultrasound, this exam is performed to see how the blood moves through your arteries and veins and can detect if there are any blockages; the only difference is that it can be used on the abdomen as well.  Similar to the breast ultrasound, the duplex ultrasound is performed as a much less invasive option to search for blood clots and abdominal aneurysms. 

Thyroid Ultrasound
This ultrasound is used to view the thyroid to guarantee it is regulating the body’s metabolism in the correct manner.  The test is typically performed on patients who have a growth on their thyroid and can help determine whether the growth is benign or cancerous, without performing any invasive procedures. 

Transvaginal Ultrasound
Similar to the traditional pregnancy ultrasound, the transvaginal ultrasound is more closely related to a pelvic examination and can help doctors examine a woman’s reproductive organs better. The test can help spot ovarian cysts or other types of abnormalities, again without the use of a more medically invasive test.

The ultrasound industry is changing every year, and these are only a fraction of the reasons why ultrasounds are performed today.  Ultrasound technologists must be heavily educated before they can perform most of these examinations, making their career that much more rewarding. 


Choose your Ultrasound Tech School Now

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Enrolling in classes as a medical assistant is a big step toward beginning a new life in the health industry.  There are many different jobs and opportunities to choose from, making the decision even more difficult when the time comes to choose a specific route.  Ultrasound techs, however, are responsible for one of the most important roles in the hospital, especially as sonography has grown more specialized over the years.  Ultrasound tech schools are therefore in charge of keeping up with the latest trends in technology to ensure that their students receive the most up-to-date knowledge before they enter the work force.

Ultrasound tech schools are typically in the range of most vocational and community colleges that offer certificates in a wide array of medical assistants.  LPNs, nursing assistants, and ultrasound techs can usually earn their certification from the same college, allowing students to intermingle with other students they may be working with in the future.  In the ultrasound industry, students will typically have to work with nurses and doctors, and of course with patients.  While ultrasound techs are trained through their school to be able to correctly read and analyze each ultrasound, as well as understand the technology involved, many doctors and nurses know how to analyze the ultrasound results as well.  This ensures that there are multiple opinions for the same data that the ultrasound produces, and reassures the patient of their diagnosis.

As a student in ultrasound tech school, you will have to undergo at least a year of school, and (depending on the school) a residency requirement at a local clinic.  Because of the many uses of sonography, ultrasound techs have been one of the fastest growing career choices in the health care community, and schools that offer these programs have sprung up around the country.  Online colleges are one of the more popular choices for future ultrasound techs since it allows them to earn their certification without attending classes at a far-away school. 

Ultrasound techs have become a vital part of our community, especially as we have become increasingly reliant on their skills.  Ultrasounds help determine if we have cancerous cells in many parts of our body, blood clots, and continue to monitor the growth of fetuses.  Ultrasound tech schools continue in this knowledgeable fashion, and remind students of the important role they will one day play in the health care industry. 

Understanding Your Role as an Ultrasound Technician

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

 Do you want to be a member of the medical community without the fear of rupturing someone’s superior vena cava and the fear of prescribing a lethal dose of medicine to a patient?  Ultrasound technicians are able to participate in the medical field without any of these life or death confrontations by their patient’s diseases, but are instead able to deliver some of the best news to patients. 

Ultrasound technicians spend years in school to be able to be a part of a clinic or hospital setting, knowing very well that they will not have to deal with any of the blood and gore that a surgeon or nurse will see on a daily basis.  Instead, they will be a part of many first mother’s first glimpses of her child, they will be responsible for detecting early signs of cancerous cells, and they will be the person to whom young parents turn to in order to determine if their growing baby has a genetic disorder.  None of these scenarios seems to involve any blood or gore, which is the perfect job description for many ultrasound students.

Careers in sonography are quite rewarding, however, because they come with such a positive end result.  Who wouldn’t want to see the joy on a mother’s face at their first glimpse of their baby through ultrasounds, or be the person to deliver the news that the lump underneath a patient’s breast is not cancerous?  This is reason enough to complete ultrasound technician programs – the knowledge that these students will be making a huge difference in every patient’s life without getting too involved in medical procedures.  The salary offering isn’t a bad incentive either, although most students complete the program in order to help people and be responsible for detecting any abnormalities.

The role of an ultrasound technician is constantly changing within each hospital and clinic as technological advances grow with each passing year.  Ultrasounds were previously only used to ensure that a new fetus was advancing properly, and even then ultrasounds are not recommended on a constant basis throughout pregnancy.  Now, ultrasounds are used to determine whether a person has cancerous cells, and in some countries, powerful ultrasounds are used to even rid the body of cancer.  For a student who wants to participate in the medical community without the added stress of dealing with someone’s life, becoming an ultrasound technician is the perfect career choice.  While you continue to help people every day, you do not have to worry about misdiagnosing a patient or accidentally brushing alongside an organ during surgery.  Instead, the ultrasound technician process becomes routine after a few years, and you are able to enjoy the work you perform and your patients’ joy. 


4 Top Ultrasound Technician Schools

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

Ultrasound technicians can earn their certification at a number of traditional schools around the nation, or even through online schools that are offered regardless of your location.  However, some of the top schools are those that would not seem to normally be associated with ultrasound technician degrees, but instead offer some of the top degree programs in the health sciences. 

Medical College of Georgia
Georgia is typically not known for its extensive health science schools, but the Medical College of Georgia has many perks for the upcoming student of sonography.  One of the oldest medical schools in the nation, MCG offers students the opportunity to try out nearly every area within the medical community.  Through attending this type of extensive medical college, students will be able to experience all realms of the medical community, and will be able to see how nurses and doctors will inevitably work together.  The mission statement of the school includes that they will help prepare the “health professional workforce of the future” – a true statement for any school teaching such diverse programs in the health sciences.

University of Nebraska Medical Center
Nebraska is another area that is not known outside of the health care community as one which would attract many students, but in fact it boasts an impressive resume of classes that prepare students for the future of health care.  Rather than offer a simply certificate as an ultrasound technician,  the school instead has a degree program for diagnostic medical sonography.  While it may seem like just a simply name change, the program instead prepares students for radiation science, and graduates are eligivle to take the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography exams in sonographic principles. 

Thomas Jefferson University
Thomas Jefferson University was founded as Jefferson Medical College in 1824, awarding more than 26,000 medical degrees over the past two centuries.  As the university expanded, new colleges and degree programs were included, resulting in separate degree programs for sonography and ultrasound technicians.  The school allows students to gain access to a number of highly-ranked research facilities, and the ability to intermingle with students of every type of medical degree program.

Nebraska Methodist College
Another Nebraska University, NMC offers students the ability to reach the academic requirements of their specialty, regardless of how many classes they must enroll in or how many credit hours their degree requires.  Additionally, the school offers students the opportunity to learn and practice with hands-on clinics and research institutions, the perfect way to learn more about the many uses of sonography.  This school offers many different types of sonography degrees, including a year long (or less) certificate program in vascular sonography or a 2-year Associate Degree program in different forms of medical sonography.  Furthermore, the school offers 7 different online programs in nursing and healthcare administration – something you can think about when receiving your initial ultrasound technician degree.