Ultrasound machines are widely used for a variety of reasons, and because of this Amber has been refurbishing used ultrasound machines for over twenty years. We know just how vital to medical facilities ultrasound machines really are.
Ultrasounds are known to most as an imaging procedure that women get when they are pregnant, in order to take a look at the fetus. Some other uses for an ultrasound include evaluating pain and swelling, the heart and blood vessels, liver, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, kidneys, eyes, thyroid, scrotum; and can also be used to guide needle biopsies, diagnose a variety of heart conditions, help physicians see blood clots, tumors, and less than normal or greater than normal blood flow to various parts of the body. (Among many other purposes!)
Getting an ultrasound procedure is painless and safe, and is sometimes called sonography. Ultrasound gel is placed onto the skin, and a small probe called a transducer is guided over the area to be shown. High-frequency sound waves are then transmitted from the probe through the gel into the body, and the transducer collects the sounds that bounce back, using them to create an image on the ultrasound computer.
Below are the basic specifications of the ultrasound machine itself, and a breakdown of what each part does.
- Transducer – probe used with ultrasound gel to send and receive sound waves.
- CPU, or Central processing unit – computer that does all of the calculations; also contains electrical powers for itself and transducer probe.
- Transducer pulse controls – able to change the amplitude, frequency, and duration of the pulses from the transducer.
- Display – displays the ultrasound image, taken from the data processed by the CPU.
- Keyboard/cursor – inputs data and takes measurements from the display.
- Disk storage device, be it a hard, floppy disk, or CD – stores images from the ultrasound.
- Printer – prints the images.
What actually happens during an ultrasound, though? We know the transducer makes the sound waves and receives the echoes. But how? Through the piezoelectric (pressure electricity) effect. Inside the transducer are one of more quartz crystals called piezoelectric crystals, and when an electric current is applied to the crystals, they change shape at a very rapid rate and create vibrations of the crystals that move outwards. When sound waves hit the crystals, however, they then emit electrical currents. So the crystals send AND receive sound waves.
The shape and size of the transducer determine its field of view. The frequency of emitted sound waves determines how deep the sound waves penetrate and the resolution of the image.
Transducer probes can also be designed to enter certain parts of the body through specific openings so that they’ll be able to get close to the organ being examined.
Now let’s talk about the CPU. The CPU contains the microprocessor, memory, amplifiers and power supplies for the microprocessor and transducer probe. It sends electrical currents to the transducer in order to emit sound waves, as well as receive electrical pulses. The CPU collects all of the data from the ultrasound and creates an image on its monitor. It can also store the data and images.
There are three different types of ultrasound: Color Doppler, which uses an array of colors to show the speed and direction of blood flow; Power Doppler, which is fairly new – it provides greater detail of blood flow, but doesn’t provide the direction of it; and Spectral Doppler, which displays blood flow measurements graphically instead of a picture.
So many components to the ultrasound! Hopefully, we’ve given you some insight into how the machine works; it’s always useful and interesting to learn the inner workings of medical equipment.
Here at Amber, you’ll be able to find the exact ultrasound machine that’s right for your facility and your patients. If you would like to speak with one of our highly trained professionals about ultrasound machines or any of our other used and refurbished medical imaging equipment, you can do so here.