What comes to mind when you hear the word “ultrasound?” If you are someone who works in the healthcare industry, you will probably have a more complete understanding than most people do of this fascinating technology and its many uses. Glenmed Professional Healthcare Solutions works extensively with ultrasound machines of all types. Take a look at these five facts about ultrasound and its many uses.
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5 Facts That Demonstrate the Versatility Of Ultrasound
Ultrasound has been with us for a long time and is capable of more than most people know. From therapeutics to diagnostics and beyond, this technology is essential for healthcare professionals – and its uses continue to be developed and refined. Consider these five facts.
1. Ultrasound Can Be Used in Therapeutics
Even people who know little about medical technology are probably well aware that ultrasound is used in diagnostics and obstetrics. However, few may be aware of the fact that it is also a powerful therapeutic tool. Ultrasound can be used to alleviate chronic pain through the heating of soft tissues. By heating the tissues, ultrasound treatment increases circulation, promotes healing and reduces pain.
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2. Ultrasound Is a Low-Risk Diagnostic Procedure
Radiation is not a factor when it comes to ultrasound. Since the technology uses sound waves at relatively low intensity, there is very little risk associated with ultrasound examinations.
3. There Are Different Types of Ultrasound Probes
Not all ultrasound machines are alike. There are at least five different transducers or probes, each of which has a different use. Linear probes are used to examine small, superficial structures such as blood vessels, the thyroid gland, and breasts. Convex probes are used to look at deeper structures such as the abdominal organs. Endocavitary probes are used mostly in gynaecology, being inserted into the vaginal orifice to examine the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries. Phased array probes are used for cardiac exams, and finally, 3D or 4D probes are used to capture images of a particular target area from different sides. These images are then put together by special software to create a 3D still image or 4D live image.
4. You Should Be Aware Of The Limitations Of Ultrasound
Ultrasound can do a lot, but there are also a number of key functions that it cannot perform. Ultrasonic waves cannot pass through bone, for example, so only the outer bone surface can be examined. For this reason, ultrasound has little or no use when it comes to examining the brain, as ultrasound waves can’t penetrate the skull. Ultrasound waves also cannot pass through air or gas, so they are not effective in examining air-filled bowels or organs hidden by the bowel.
5. Ultrasound Has A Long History
The concept of ultrasound goes back to the 17th century. Acclaimed scientist Robert Hooke, a contemporary of Sir Isaac Newton, first proposed that sound could be used to study the inside of the body. About a century later, Italian physiologist Lazzaro Spallanzani conducted the first study of the way bats navigate in the dark. His conclusions formed the basis for modern ultrasound. When ultrasound machines did finally come into use, it was in an industry that had nothing to do with healthcare. Soviet physicist Sergei Sokolov developed the first ultrasound machine to detect flaws in metal castings. It was John J. Wild who is credited with pioneering the use of ultrasound in medicine during the 1930s.
What Can Ultrasound Be Used To Diagnose?
Among the many things that ultrasound can be used to detect are:
- Healthy development of a foetus – or potential risks and abnormalities in utero.
- Gallbladder disease
- Blood flow problems
- Breast lumps
- Thyroid problems
- Joint inflammation
- Tumours and growths in various organs and soft tissues
Get Your Ultrasound Equipment from Glenmed Professional Healthcare Solutions
Glenmed is a licensed South African distributor for some of the world’s most trusted medical technology brands. Contact us to find out how we can help you equip your medical facility with the best ultrasound equipment on the market.