Due to its noninvasiveness, low prices and no radioactive treatment, ultrasound visualization has become very widespread in all medical spheres.
But there are no limits for science. Companies create compact ultrasound systems for work in confined spaces (in operating rooms). Philips presented a portative ultrasound system CX50 at the RSNA. At the same synod Siemens Healthcare presented the first in the world Acuson Freestyle with a wireless detector. It can be used in 10 feet distance and is provided with an inbuilt shockproof protection.
Ultrasound companies like Esaote, Toshiba, SonoSite and many others offer a wide range of powerful portable systems. SonoSite produces a wide range of mobile ultrasound systems under the trademark MicroMaxx, NanoMaxx, M-Turbo and S Series. SonoSite ultrasound machines are designed to work both in cardiology and in first aid spots. Toshiba has created a mobile unit Viamo, which combines all the benefits of a portable system with high quality imaging, convenience and ergonomics that are inherent in stationary ultrasonic devices.
Computer Based Systems
Esaote presents a range of handheld ultrasound devices based on tablet computers – My Lab One, My Lab Touch. A peculiarity of these devices is that they are meant to be used in a certain area. For example – My Lab One is designed for using in anesthesia and intensive care. The device comes with high-frequency sensor up to 22 MHz, which provides an ideal visualization of subcutaneous structures, anatomical atlas for comparison with ultrasound imaging and other applications that create ideal conditions for vascular access and other manipulations under ultrasound guidance.
Esaote produces a portable ultrasound machine of HD class. The main feature of this system is the ability to use a range of specialized technologies (elastography measurement of the intima-media)which were previously impossible in portable ultrasound equipment.
3D and 4D Technologies
At the same exhibition Toshiba introduced the Aplio ultrasound systems with applications in 3-D and 4-D modes for clinical use.
Fly Thru technology for ultrasound machine Aplio 500 allows the operator to “slide” through the blood vessels during the study or during subsequent processing. A Smart Fusion technology providesfull synchronization of ultrasound imaging with computed and magnetic resonance imaging duringbiopsies and other minimally invasive procedures.
Similar techniques are implemented in all the leading manufacturers of medical equipment. Fusion technology of MRI and CT images with ultrasound imaging in real time is presented by Philips under the brand PercuNav, by Siemens – eSieFusion, by GE Company – Volume Navigation. The leading position in fusion technology takes Esaote, it is one of the first to market Virtual Navigator (2002).
One of the technological improvements of elastography is ShearWave (SWE). This method is now actively developed by Supersonic Imagine. SWE technology measures the difference in shear ultrasonic wave when passing tissue with different stiffness and allows quantifying the density of local tissues unlike usual elastography where tissue stiffness is defined manually. Being less dependent on the operator, this method of elastography allows reflecting the color picture of tissue stiffness more accurately.
Technological advances have opened more opportunities for the ultrasound usage in different clinicalareas. Improved software and more sophisticated image processing algorithms enable the manufacturer to create a more compact and more powerful ultrasound machines. Innovations continue to provide physicians with more choices and opportunities of the ultrasonic device.