Ultrasound Machine

Everything There Is to Know About Ultrasound machine

The ultrasound machine takes the images of organs inside the body to examine them. Sound waves, which are of high frequency, reflect from the body part and back to the monitor of the computer. These reflected sound waves give a picture of the organ. This test does not use ionizing radiation but consists of a transducer probe, CPU, transducer pulse control, display, keyboard cursor, printer, disk storage device. The use of this machine for the screening of body organs is safe as it does not expose the body to ionizing radiation. Therefore, the ultrasound machine is better than an X-ray and CT-scan. Its usage is also painless because no cuts, needles, and shots are required. It shows soft tissue that cannot be captured via an X-ray. The device evolved from a simple ultrasound tool to a portable machine and has a vast usage as it has fewer side effects. Health professionals use the ultrasound machine to monitor the fetus during pregnancy, and it guides surgeons during different procedures like biopsies.

History

Many great scientists of the 19th and 20th centuries paved the way through their ideas for the modern ultrasound machine. Thomas Young, in 1801, described "phase shifting" of light waves. This concept, used in an ultrasound-phased array system, controls the interference pattern, which is useful in 3D-image production. Christian Doppler in 1842 described the "Doppler Effect" that relates to the motion of stars, and this principle is useful as the basis for studies of blood flow in a fetus and pelvic vessels. In 1880, Pierre Curie described that the Piezoelectric effect, which is a mechanical distortion of ceramic crystals, would produce an electric charge helpful in generating ultrasonic waves. In 1915, Paul Langevin made the first hydrophone used to create ultrasonic waves that function to locate the distance and position of submarines. This same principle is behind the measurement of abdominal masses and fetus by ultrasound. Watson-Watt and his team used electromagnetic waves for the development of Radar in 1943, which later became utilized to produce two-dimensional images. In 1949, George Ludwig modified the above equipment to locate gallstones, and John Julian Wild could detect breast masses.

In 1953, Inge Edler and Carl Hertz at Lund University got M-mode recording from an adult heart with the help of the adaptation of a metal flaw detector. Wild with his colleague engineer John Read in 1952, provided breast tumors 2D images and the first tomographic images of Human anatomy by Douglass Howry, whom Landmark paper published in the same year. But the Howry approach was inelegant and uncomfortable because the examination required immersing the body parts. Ian Donald, Denver, and engineer Tom Brown with help from an engineering company developed the first-time contact compound 2D ultrasound scanning machine called Diasonograph in 1958. It begins with the physics of scanning techniques, safety experiments, images of pregnancy, the fetus, and gynecological tumors. The image was created on a Cathode Ray tube by rocking the transducer slowly over the abdomen. In the 1970s, initially, Ochsner ultrasonic instrument was A-mode and B-mode static imaging. Later, it was images of the abdomen, pelvis, and fetus evaluation during pregnancy. Then, with more modifications, it could give live pictures. New advancements in ultrasound includes Lipomatosis and gastrointestinal abnormalities (i.e., cancer of the stomach, lymphoma, colon cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, acute appendicitis, and metastatic peritoneal implants demonstrating the pseudo kidney sign of bowel wall thickening).

In 1980, the static scanner became replaced with the color Doppler ultrasound that allowed the detection and visualization of movement, i.e., blood flow towards and away from the transducer. 

In the next decade, 1995-2005, significant developments occurred in computer equipment. The Ochsner ultrasound became completely filmless with the acquisition of a picture archiving and communication system (PACS) in 1996. It continued to evolve with the introduction of Power Doppler (which had higher sensitivity for detection of low-velocity flow), Harmon imaging, and postprocessing algorithms that improved the clarity of images with abdominal vascular images evaluation of transplanted organs occurring as livers and pancreas. At present, a staff of 12 members continues to contribute to the progress of ultrasound technology being chosen for its investigational study.

Indications to Use

The primary use of an ultrasound machine is to help diagnose several disease processes and help physicians in examining the symptoms of pain, infection, and swelling. Health care professionals use this machine to diagnose complications and for the screening of internal body organs. Some are listed below:

  • Heart 
  • Blood vessels
  • Kidney
  • Bladder 
  • Uterus 
  • Ovaries
  • Liver 
  • Gallbladder
  • Spleen 
  • Pancreas
  • Eyes
  • Thyroid and parathyroid glands
  • Scrotum and testis

The usage of this machine is not limited to only these organs. Gynecologist examines the unborn baby movement and growth of body parts hips, brain, and spine.

The ultrasound machine is helpful in many procedures and conditions, such as the following:

  1. Needle biopsies 

It finds the abnormality in tissues (lesion) and guides the insertion and removal of a needle in the wound.

  1. Biopsy of breast cancer

Surgeons use this machine to put a needle into the abnormal area of the breast, which is the need for biopsy.

  1. Diagnose of Heart Diseases 

It determines the direction and flow of blood and also helps in examining the damaged part after a heart attack.

  1. Blockage to blood flow

It uses the sound waves to diagnose the obstruction in blood vessels. It is a practical approach to detect blood clots and narrowing vessels.

  1. Tumors

It is a better device for cancer patients in detecting the tumors in the body than an x-ray. 

  1. Congenital Vascular Malfunction

It has been a practical approach to determine the abnormalities in blood vessels at the time of birth or some days after delivery.

  1. Complications in Ovary or Testes

It helps in screening abnormalities like a cyst, tumors, infection, swelling, and internal bleeding and other such complications in female and male sexual glands

Complications From Using an Ultrasound Machine

The usage of the ultrasound machine has low risks because it does not use ionizing radiation. Hence, there are no adverse side effects faced in scanning the body organs. The following are some low-level risks that can occur:

  • When the probe is pressed or inserted into the body, a patient may be uncomfortable. 
  • In cases of excessive and prolonged exposure to these rays, the risk may increase the side effects of organs.
  • Sometimes after an endoscopic ultrasound, a patient can face minor discomforts like a sore throat and bloating.
  • In rare cases, the patient may exhibit internal bleeding.

How it works

Pre-test process

A patient should wear a gown or loose clothing, and in the area to be examined, they will be asked to remove clothes and jewelry.

According to the type of examination, patient preparation may vary.

  • Sometimes, health professionals may instruct patients to fast for 12 hours prior to the procedure.
  • Sometimes, doctors may want patients to drink six glasses of water 2 hours prior.
  • Sometimes, they may ask a patient to abstain from urinating so they can scan the bladder full of urine to get a clear image.

Procedure

Generally, the sonographer takes the transducer and places it to that area of the body needed to be examined. Its waves strike the body and back after reflection. The attached monitor gets these waves and produces an image.

If there are no gallstones present, the rays from the ultrasound machine will travel through the gallbladder. In case of their presence, rays bounce back and give a scanned image.

Sometimes transducers are placed internally for the screening of vagina, rectum, esophagus.

General Specifications

There are several designs of the ultrasound machine on the market, with different specifications; however, we are going to cite the general specifications, which are accurate enough.

Power: PW 90~240 VAC, 50~60 Hz AD

Dimension: 400mm (L) x 300mm (W) 160mm (H)

Weight: vary between 10 to 20 pounds

Transducer Type: 

  • Convex: Multi-frequency 2.0-5.0 MHz 
  • Linear: Multi-frequency 2.0-12.0 MHz
  • Endocavitary: 5.0-8.0 MHz probe one

Frequency Range: 2-12MHz

Alternative Devices

The following are some machines useful for scanning different organs and diagnose various diseases:

  • CT Scanner
  • X-Ray Machine

Market Leaders

The following are some global leaders in the ultrasound machine space:

  • GE Healthcare
  • Philips Healthcare
  • Toshiba medical
  • Hitachi-Aloka medical
  • Siemens Healthineers
  • Mingray
  • Samsung Medison
  • Fujifilm Sonosite
  • Esaote
  • Analogic

Conclusion:

In conclusion, an ultrasound machine is an effective machine that works safely and poses little-to-no damage risk to organs. It screens organs to diagnose abnormalities in different organs to get an idea during procedures like biopsies, and to check the movement of the fetus. It is useful in examining abdominal, gynecological, cardiac, maternity, cerebrovascular, urological, and breast examination. Moreover, it also screens soft tissue better than an x-ray. Other tests like X-ray and CT-scan have more massive complications as they use ionizing radiation.  Healthcare professionals also use it to check the postoperative complications.

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