Ultrasound Thermal Paper vs Regular Paper: What is the Difference?

ultrasound scanning machine in clinic

Ultrasound thermal paper is designed to produce high-quality images with high contrast and resolution. When the paper is exposed to heat, it reacts with the thermal printing head of the ultrasound machine to generate a clear and sharp image.

On the other hand, regular paper is not designed for medical imaging, and its image printing clarity is much lower compared to ultrasound thermal paper.

Regular paper may produce acceptable image quality for basic text and graphics printing, but it is not suitable for high-resolution images such as those produced by medical imaging devices.


About Ultrasound Thermal Papers

Ultrasound thermal paper also known as ultrasound print paper or sonography paper is a synthetic type of paper that is coated with a heat-sensitive material.

When heat is applied to the paper, the material changes colour, then it produces an image. Ultrasound thermal papers are used widely to support medical professionals in diagnosing and treating various conditions.


The features and benefits of Ultrasound Thermal Paper include the following:

  1. Visualize image durable for up to 7-10 years under proper storage.
  2. Present excellent resistance to moisture and humidity, it is a perfect way to keep a long-term record of medical consultations.
  3. High resolution with optimum grey scale and accurate ultrasound images support consultation and medical training.
  4. Minimal paper curling, smooth printing delivery and excellent tearing properties.
  5. Great smudge-free technology to prevent smudging and fingerprints on the image.
  6. It is cost-effective compared to traditional ink-based printing processes.
  7. Resistant to fading and discoloration over time.
  8. The thermal printer and ultrasound thermal paper do not require ink to generate images, which enhances the printer’s simplicity and durability.


ultrasound image

Using Regular Papers in Printing Ultrasound Images

Using normal printing paper for Ultrasound images is not advisable. Ultrasound imaging works by sending high-frequency sound waves, then using the echoes of those waves to create an image.

The resulting images are usually displayed on a computer screen or printed on synthetic thermal paper specially designed for ultrasound machines.

Regular paper, on the other hand, is not sensitive to heat and cannot produce an ultrasound image. It is used for printing documents, books, magazines, and other types of materials that do not require a heat-sensitive coating.

However, with advances in technology, it is now more common to save ultrasound images as digital files that can be easily stored, transferred, and printed.

To save the ultrasound images as digital files, it is typically captured using a digital ultrasound machine and then transferred to a computer or other digital storage device. Print out ultrasound images using normal paper, it is simple and easy by attached to a computer and printed using an inkjet or laser printer.


Disadvantages of printing Ultrasound images with regular papers:

  • Ultrasound images printed with regular paper are not durable, non-resistant to water and humidity.
  • It is not good paper material for a long-term record of medical consultations.
  • Low image printing resolution with limited grey scale and inaccurate ultrasound image precision.
  • No prevention for paper curling and not equipped with tearing properties.

The inkjet and laser printers are not designed for ultrasound imaging because these printers are not designed to print in the specialized format required for medical imaging.

Ultrasound images are typically saved in DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine) format, which is not compatible with most standard printers.

To print ultrasound images, specialized ultrasound printers are required. These printers use thermal or dye-sublimation printing technology, which produces high-quality prints that accurately represent ultrasound images.

These printers are designed to work with the specialized DICOM format used in medical imaging and can produce prints that are true to the original images.

Furthermore, printing ultrasound images using a regular printer can also result in inaccuracies due to the limitations of the printer head. The printer head of an inkjet or laser printer is designed to produce small dots of ink or toner on regular paper.

In contrast, ultrasound images require high-resolution and precise printing capabilities, which are not provided by a regular printer head. As a result, using a regular printer and regular paper to print ultrasound images can result in low-quality and inaccurate prints.

Therefore, it is highly recommended to use specialized ultrasound printers and thermal paper for printing medical imaging such as 3D and 4D ultrasound images.


Different Types of Ultrasound Thermal Print Paper

Ultrasound thermal paper comes in a variety of coatings, sizes, levels of density, and thicknesses, depending on the specific medical application. It is commonly used in medical facilities for printing images produced by ultrasound machines.

Colored, Black/White thermal printer paper ranging in different sizes, from A7 up to A4, with a choice of matt, semi-matt, and glossy finishes.

Ultimately, the choice of paper for printing medical ultrasound images will depend on the specific requirements of the medical facility or practitioner and the equipment used to generate the images.


Types of Ultrasound Papers

Media Printing Purposes

Colour Printing Ultrasound Paper

The best option for ultrasound colour prints. It offers a high-quality impression and is compatible with a variety of video printers, including the Sony Smart Imaging, commonly chosen by 3D/4D baby ultrasound centres.

Black and White Ultrasound Print Paper

Generally used by gynaecologists, urologists, and radiologists. It allows clinicians and patients to keep the images for a longer period of time as it is water and heat-resistant.

High Glossy Ultrasound Print Paper

High gloss consists of synthetic paper, thermal coat, overcoat, gross coat, and head cleaning coat. This composition guarantees longer image durability and water resistance with a polished finish. 

It generates stunning prints from 3D/ 4D printing machines with exceptional detail and clarity. High glossy thermal print paper is designed to resist smudging and smearing, ensuring that the images remain legible and liable for years to come.

High-Density Ultrasound Print Paper

The higher density level of printer paper allows for higher accuracy and sharper images as well as a greater amount of detail. Ensures the precision of ultrasound results and images for critical diagnostic and treatment plans.


doctor and patience

Medical Applications of Ultrasound Paper

Ultrasound thermal papers are used worldwide for its excellent image quality for various diagnostic and healthcare imaging applications. It can be used for a diversity of applications, such as medical ultrasound screening, microscopy, pregnancy ultrasound screening, and dental.


Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Ultrasound papers are vital medical consumables in obstetrics and gynaecology that print out images of the fetus during pregnancy.

These screening images can provide valuable information to healthcare professionals, such as identifying potential abnormalities, estimating fetus age and growth, and determining the sex of the baby. Ultrasound exams are safe and non-invasive, making them an essential component of prenatal care.

Recent advances in ultrasound technology, such as 3D and 4D imaging, improved the accuracy and provide high-resolution fetus images, allowing for more detailed and sharp image representations of ultrasound screening.

It has enabled healthcare professionals to detect and diagnose fetal anomalies earlier, leading to improved management and outcomes for both the mother and baby.



Ultrasound thermal sensitive imaging paper produces high-resolution images to evaluate acute management and chronic illnesses. It can produce images of the liver, kidneys, heart, and other organs that can be used to diagnose various conditions, including tumors, cysts, and other abnormalities.


Cardiovascular Ultrasound (Echocardiography)

Ultrasound thermal papers are used in cardiology to record images of the heart and blood vessels. Advanced visual processing helps in diagnosing heart disease, blockages, and defects.

Ultrasound imaging is frequently used to diagnose cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). Compared to X-ray imaging, ultrasound imaging does not involve high radiation exposure and compared to MRI, it is less expensive and more accessible for daily use.

Ultrasound imaging is safe, easy to operate, and known for its high spatial and temporal resolution.



Ultrasound papers help dentists produce and summarize the diagnosis of dental conditions, such as cavities, gum disease, and jaw problems. Ultrasound papers are compatible with various dental ultrasound machines and come in different frequencies and resolutions.


Key Takeaway

Using regular paper for printing medical imaging such as ultrasound images is not recommended.

Regular paper is not designed for medical imaging, and its image printing clarity is much lower compared to ultrasound thermal paper.

Ultrasound thermal paper is designed to produce high-quality images with high contrast and resolution, making it the best choice for printing medical images.

Besides, Ultrasound thermal paper is durable and water-resistant, and it offers excellent resistance to moisture and humidity as compared to regular paper.

Specialized ultrasound printers and thermal paper should be used for printing medical imaging such as 3D and 4D ultrasound images.

To ensure the best quality and accuracy of medical imaging, it is recommended to use specialized ultrasound printers and thermal paper.