Originally posted on http://www.kake.com/story/41079244/5-recent-advances-in-ultrasound-technology
From monitoring babies to screening for breast cancer and cardiovascular issues, ultrasounds are used for a variety of different patients and medical conditions. It’s affordable and doesn’t use any radiation. Because of this, and the fact that it’s noninvasive, ultrasounds are getting more and more popular.
New ultrasound technology has been hitting the market. This is mostly driven by the need to limit exposure to radiation. Keep reading to learn more about how ultrasounds are advancing.
You’d usually move to a different room for an ultrasound or wheel a large, cumbersome machine to a patient room. But point-of-care ultrasounds use smartphones as ultrasound scanners for better convenience.
This allows ultrasound techs or doctors to carry them around for quick exams. Not only are they convenient, but they’re also inexpensive.
These portable ultrasound scanners can be used for scans of the gall bladder, lungs, and abdomen. They can even guide medical procedures, such as nerve blocks or targeted injections.
Advances in fusion technology allow ultrasound images to be synced with other scans, such as CT scans or MRIs. Combining ultrasound with these scans allows doctors to detect hard-to-find lesions.
By syncing these, healthcare providers can reduce the amount of radiation a patient is exposed to and minimize the number of procedures they must endure.
Shear wave elasticity, or SWE, allows operators of ultrasound machines to get a better read on tissue stiffness because it doesn’t require manual compressions of the tissue. It also produces a real-time, color-coded map to show tissue stiffness.
SWE is ideal for breast ultrasounds. Mammography has been the common standard for breast cancer screening, but as more and more women with dense breast tissue are screened, the SWE technology allows for better diagnoses, as mammograms often miss masses with this demographic.
In addition to examining breast tissue, SWE also can be used to study the liver, thyroid, and other musculoskeletal areas of the body. You can read more here about musculoskeletal ultrasounds.
Contrast ultrasounds use a contrast agent and ultrasound technology to diagnose various issues ranging from infertility to cardiovascular issues. Contrast ultrasounds are even better than CT scans for some things, including diagnosing liver tumors, especially those that are very small.
Pneumonia is pretty common in children and the use of lung ultrasounds is an effective and safe way of diagnosing it. Ultrasounds eliminate the need for chest x-rays, limiting the exposure of the child to radiation.
In children with radiation-induced cancers or those who’ve already had CT scans or other x-rays, ultrasound is a much safer alternative.
Whether you’re an adult or a child, have an illness or injury, these advances in ultrasound technology can benefit you in some way. Less radiation, better affordability, and expanded access all make ultrasounds a viable option to more traditional x-rays.
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