How do you choose the right 2D, 3D, 4D or Doppler ultrasound machine?

An ultrasound machine, which makes use of high-frequency sound waves to capture images from the body, has several types. The choice of which type of ultrasound machine to use depends on the purpose of the test, the availability of the machine, and what is being investigated for the test.

The different types of ultrasound imaging include 2D, 3D, 4D, and doppler.

2D Ultrasound Imaging

2D ultrasound imaging is typically used for obstetric purposes. It is capable of producing 2 dimensional images of what’s inside the body.

Using 2D technology, the baby’s growth, gestation, size, development, and even the heartbeat can be clearly seen. The placenta, as well as the baby’s position, can also be viewed. The images from 2D ultrasound are usually in black and white.

2D ultrasound can be done at any point during pregnancy. It is typically recommended to confirm pregnancy, to determine the presence of more than one embryo, to check the position of the placenta, to identify possible birth defects or physical anomalies, and to estimate the age of gestation.

This type of ultrasound machine can also be used to assist anesthesiologists in procedures like central line placement and in the administration of regional nerve blocks.

Other areas of medicine where 2D ultrasound imaging is used include cardiology, gynecology, and vascular.

3D Ultrasound Imaging

3D ultrasound imaging was developed mainly because of the limitations of its predecessor. 2D viewing is insufficient for 3D anatomy. It only represents a thin plane of a specific angle, making 2D images subject to variability and higher chances of incorrect diagnoses.

3D ultrasound imaging has several advantages over 2D. These include a decrease in patient waiting time, faster examination, and better quality of images. Because of these advantages, it’s more common to encounter 3D ultrasound imaging than 2D.

This type of ultrasound machine has several uses. It is more commonly used in the following:

  1. Obstetrics
    3D ultrasound imaging can view the development of the growing fetus as well as help determine potential physical anomalies or birth defects.
  2. Fetal Cardiac
    Another use of 3D ultrasound machine is in viewing the condition of a fetal heart. It is capable of viewing the left and right ventricular outflow, opening and closing of the foramen ovale, and the ventricular wall in relation to the heart’s chambers.
  3. Gynecology
    The use of 3D ultrasound imaging is highly beneficial for detecting placental abnormalities.
  4. Internal Medicine
    Several conditions can be diagnosed with the help of 3D ultrasound imaging. These include acute abdominal syndrome, appendicitis, presence of tumor, renal colic, and cholecystitis.
  5. Musculoskeletal
    In orthopedics, 3D ultrasound imaging is used for the evaluation of the intervertebral disc, partial tendon separation, and bone microsplit.
  6. Ophthalmology
    Ophthalmologists recommend 3D ultrasound imaging for cases like retinal detachment, presence of foreign object in one’s eye, and vitreous proliferative retinopathy.

4D Ultrasound Imaging

In the recent years, 4D ultrasound imaging has been developed and become readily available. The addition in 4D imaging is time. Hence, 3D images seem to appear moving.

When you look at the screen of the ultrasound machine, the 4D images appear in a golden color. In this way, patients and doctors can easily see the highlights of the subject being investigated.

One of the common reasons for using 4D ultrasound imaging is the quality of images. By bending the sound waves in different angles, the machine is capable of creating remarkably clear images. Because of this, this type of ultrasound imaging is used in the following areas of medicine:

  • Obstetrics
    In the field of obstetrics, 4D ultrasound imaging is used for detecting spinal abnormalities, fetal heart condition, overall fetal well-being by evaluating fetal sleep and awakening, and is also helpful in diagnosing fetal neuro-myopathy genetic diseases.
  • Gynecology
    The use of 4D ultrasound imaging is highly helpful in determining the exact measurement of endometrial hyperplasia and in tumor evaluation.
  • Breast
    The quality of the images from 4D ultrasound imaging makes it helpful for accurate breast biopsy in all 3 planes. This type of ultrasound imaging is also used when contrast media are used on breast tumors.
  • Urology
    In urology, 4D ultrasound imaging aids in biopsy, evaluation of the prostate parenchyma, accurate volume measurement of the prostate and bladder, and in correcting the position of the urinary catheter.
  • Internal Medicine
    4D ultrasound imaging is used for the accurate biopsy of the liver and the kidneys. It’s also used for locating tumors and identifying obstruction.
  • Musculoskeletal
    In the field of orthopedics, 4D ultrasound imaging is used to guide musculoskeletal biopsy and in the examination of certain parts of the musculoskeletal system such as the hips and the knees.

Doppler Ultrasound Imaging

Doppler ultrasound imaging makes use of high-frequency sound waves to estimate the blood flow in the blood vessels. Using doppler ultrasound helps estimate how fast the blood flows. This capability of doppler ultrasound makes it highly helpful in diagnosing cardiovascular diseases or conditions involving blood clots, heart valves, and arteries by helping to identify blocked and bulging arteries.

Doppler ultrasound is a noninvasive test making it a good alternative for procedures like arteriography and venography.

Buying Used Ultrasound Machines

Used or refurbished ultrasound machines are not the same. Hence, it’s important to choose well to avoid wasting your money, time, and effort. The following are some things to consider when buying refurbished ultrasound machines:

  1. Price
    Whether you’re buying a GE or HP ultrasound machine, you need to consider your budget. Do not just look at the price of the unit itself but also consider the other costs involved, such as repairs and parts replacement. Do not settle for the cheapest machine. Make sure to consider other areas such as warranty, features, and most of all, quality.
  2. Purpose
    How often will you be using the machine and for what purpose? There are different types of ultrasound machines. There are machines that are specifically used for cardiac imaging, while there are also those that perform well for surgeries. So know the purpose before getting an ultrasound machine.
  3. End-users
    Who will be operating the machine? How skilled are they? These are important considerations, whether you’re getting a portableor traditional ultrasound machine. Be sure to ask the ultrasound machine provider if they provide offline or online training.
  4. Warranty
    Repairs and parts replacements are costly, so product warranty duration is another thing to consider when buying refurbished ultrasound machines. There are providers that offer a 3-year product warranty.
  5. Provider’s Reputation
    How long have they been selling new or refurbished medical equipment? If they have been around for some time, this can be a good sign that the company is a reputable provider of new or used medical equipment.

    Absolute Medical is the leader in pre-owned and reconditioned medical equipment since 2001. The company has a team of experts to guide you in choosing the right medical equipment to suit your needs. It offers a 7-day unconditional 100% money back guarantee. The company has a wide range of high quality refurbished ultrasound machines.
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