A while back in April, we wrote a blog post on how ultrasound machines work. We talked about the variety of uses for ultrasounds, such as taking a look at a fetus, evaluating pain and swelling, the heart and blood vessels, spleen, thyroid, and more; the ultrasound is also used to guide needle biopsies and diagnose a variety of heart conditions, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
However, if you’re thinking about purchasing a new ultrasound for your facility, there may be some specific questions that you are wondering about beyond the specs and image quality of the machine. Most notably you’ll want to think about your budget and the features you want, but we’ll cover other important questions below (though they are, by far, not the only ones you should ask.)
Will you need a Portable or Console ultrasound?
If you’re going to be transporting the ultrasound quite often, you might want to consider a portable ultrasound. However, there are some key differences between portable and console that may affect your decision. For example, typically, portable ultrasounds will not have the same image quality, probe selection, and limited software features as a console. A portable will also have a much smaller keyboard and monitor in comparison to a console, but it will have the same footprint as a console since most portables need a cart.
Will the ultrasound you’re considering suit your purpose?
Think about what type of practice you’re running. Is it obstetrics? Cardiology? Urology? Gynecology? Veterinary medicine? The type of procedures you’ll be frequently performing need to be considered when you purchase an ultrasound. This also brings the question of which probes/transducers will best fit the scans you’ll be doing as well. (Keep in mind that certain probes and transducers will affect the cost of the system.)
Is the ultrasound system height adjustable?
This is a very crucial because it relates to not only the sonographers height but also his or her preferences when it comes to sitting or standing while performing the exam on a patient. In addition, many exams will require the sonographer to switch from sitting to standing, so adjusting the height of the ultrasound should be simple and effortless.
Will you be able to accommodate multiple types of exams with this height range?
The type of exams you’ll be performing should be taken into consideration when finding the right height range. The height of the ultrasound shall be enough so that a person above 6’ can comfortably use the system, and the height range should also accommodate those under 5’. Also, if your facility will be performing reflux studies, the height should be able to go even lower.
How reliable is the ultrasound?
You’ll want to know how well the ultrasound you choose will be working in a few years time. Its ability to perform its functions regularly over the years should be a huge deciding factor in your purchase. Find out how long the battery life is, the time required to start the machine, and the durability of the machine and probes.
Is the monitor mounted on a fully articulated arm?
A fully articulated arm will optimize the sonographers head and neck position. The arm of the ultrasound console should position easily so that the sonographer is always looking ahead no matter how the control panel is positioned.
What clinical applications and options are available?
Some ultrasound systems have a very broad spectrum when it comes to options, others have a very narrow spectrum. Some ultrasounds have 3D/4D, panoramic view, and Doppler available; some do not. Definitely think about the different studies you’ll be doing when choosing applications for your ultrasound.
Surely, these are not the only questions you’ll have to consider before making your decision, but that’s what Amber’s skilled professionals are for! Contact us here today to discuss any other concerns you may have about ultrasounds, or any of our other pieces of refurbished medical equipment.