Ultrasound (US) is an imaging method that characterizes tissue by using high-frequency sound pulses. Compared to other imaging methods like traditional radiography or CT, it is a useful and flexible medical imaging method that often gives an extra or unique way to describe tissues. The new ultrasound technology is coming fast, and you must know about it.
Ultrasound uses compression/rarefaction, reflection, impedance, and other acoustic physics features to find and describe different types of tissue. In medical ultrasonography, sound waves with a frequency of millions of cycles per second (megahertz, or MHz) are used. On the other hand, the highest frequency that humans can hear is about 20 kHz.
An ultrasound transducer delivers an ultrasonic pulse into tissue and then listens for echoes. The echoes convey information about space and contrast. The principle is similar to that of sonar used in navigation, but the mechanism employed in medical ultrasonography is more complex, collecting enough data to produce a quickly moving two-dimensional grayscale picture.
Some properties of returning tissue echoes may be modified to offer information beyond a grayscale picture. For example, Doppler ultrasonography may detect a frequency change in echoes and identify whether tissue is moving toward or away from the transducer. This is quite useful for evaluating things such as blood vessels or the heart (echocardiography).
Additional capabilities of ultrasound are being developed, such as 3D ultrasound imaging, elastography, and contrast-enhanced ultrasonography employing microbubbles.
Why use ultrasound?
- Ultrasound employs non-ionizing sound waves and has not been linked to carcinogenesis – this is especially essential for prenatal and gonad evaluations in most places, where ultrasound is more easily accessible than more sophisticated cross-sectional modalities like CT or MRI.
- Ultrasound examinations are cheaper than CT or MRI scans.
- When compared to MRI or contrast-enhanced CT, ultrasound is simple to do on the go.
- The real-time aspect of ultrasonic imaging is beneficial for assessing both physiology and anatomy (e.g. fetal heart rate)
- Doppler assessment of organs and arteries offers a degree of physiologic data that other modalities can not provide (with the exception of some MRI sequences)
- An ultrasound examination may readily be expanded to examine another organ system or the contralateral extremities.
New ultrasound technology
We are on the verge of a new era in ultrasound technology. From assisting healthcare professionals in detecting ailments such as malignant cells to displaying real-time pictures within the mother’s womb, ultrasound technology is a go-to method for a broad variety of diseases and jobs.
Let’s take a deeper look at how ultra-compact ultrasound, 3D and 4D ultrasound, artificial intelligence (AI), tissue harmonic imaging, and volumetric ultrasound are influencing the future of ultrasound imaging.
Volumetric imaging, in general, provides pictures of things in space by merging several 2D photos acquired from various perspectives. This provides a more comprehensive perspective of an item than would be available with a single photograph. The same approach is now being utilized for medical diagnostics.
Volumetric ultrasound produces 3D pictures of the body by scanning a 2D array transducer with sound waves and computer algorithms to generate images of the interior of the body. This imaging technique may aid in the identification of cancer cells, tumor cells, and other abnormalities, as well as the diagnosis of other ailments like heart disease. Furthermore, volumetric ultrasonography is often utilized to aid in the guidance of operations like biopsies and needle injections.
During pregnancy, it is often used to visualize the fetus. It may also be used to photograph other organs and structures, as well as to examine correlations between various human body organ structures.
Tissue Harmonic Imaging (THI)
Tissue harmonic imaging (THI) is another developing technology that is fast transforming the way basic ultrasound methods are used. THI is a cutting-edge technique that delivers clearer pictures than regular ultrasound. THI allows doctors to make more accurate diagnoses, making it especially well-suited for use in cardiac imaging.
Furthermore, THI technology uses less power and may be completed faster, making it more convenient for both patients and therapists. Furthermore, THI is less likely to cause artifacts than normal ultrasonography, which may lead to an incorrect diagnosis.
Small Size Ultrasound
Ultrasound equipment that is ultracompact or portable has revolutionized imaging technology. a lot of what’s going on and what’s going on.This ultra-compact imaging equipment is becoming popular in healthcare and clinical labs due to its mobility and ease of use.
Healthcare professionals also utilize portable ultrasound devices. Portable ultrasonography equipment, in particular, is beneficial in identifying UTIs. These devices have many benefits over traditional UTI detection techniques like computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Portable ultrasound equipment provides high-quality images and enables real-time image guidance. These devices are suitable for basic care settings.
Real-Time 3D and 4D Ultrasound Imaging
The quest for more accurate diagnostic pictures is driving the usage of three-dimensional (3D) real-time imaging ultrasound technologies. This imaging technique offers a good view of the inside of the organs and may be used to identify abnormalities such as cancer. It is gaining popularity because it provides a clearer picture of what is going on within the body.
For prenatal ultrasound, 3D real-time imaging is becoming increasingly prevalent. This technology provides a more in-depth look of the infant. This technology is new, and there is no established protocol for its use. However, this technology is projected to be used in more hospitals in the near future.
Furthermore, this technology makes it simple to diagnose disorders. It helps to acquire a better sight of human body organs. 3D ultrasonic imaging technology also requires less time than 2D imaging technology.
For healthcare professionals such as gynecologists, four-dimensional (4D) ultrasound imaging technology is even more convenient. In comparison to 3D ultrasound technology, 4D ultrasound displays real motion using several pictures. Gynecologists may use this technology to view the baby moving in the mother’s womb in real time.
4D real-time ultrasound imaging offers several advantages that standard two-dimensional imaging does not, particularly for gynecologists. This sort of imaging provides a more full look at the fetus while also demonstrating how the fetus develops over time. This technique may also be used to track numerous fetuses at the same time. This is advantageous in high-risk pregnancies.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI, or artificial intelligence, offers enormous promise in the medical technology and imaging industries, particularly ultrasound technologies. Images of the interior of the body are created using ultrasound waves. For many years, this technique has been employed for diagnostic reasons. However, even experienced radiologists may struggle to interpret these pictures. This is where artificial intelligence can help.
AI-enabled ultrasound equipment can analyze pictures rapidly and correctly. This may aid physicians in diagnosing and treating patients more quickly. Furthermore, AI can assist in identifying trends that human observers may overlook. AI, for example, may assist in detecting early indicators of various major illnesses, such as cancer, heart disease, and stroke. By allowing for early diagnosis and treatment, this technology has the potential to save lives.