How Ultrasound Machines Help Physicians Make Decisions

What is an ultrasound Probe?

An ultrasound is a procedure that is performed by a physician or an ultrasound technician that involves taking 2D, 3D, or even 4D images of inside the body using sound waves. The sound waves bounce off of bones, tissues and organs inside the body to create images that are visible to medical professionals. Doctors use this information to help them determine disease and diagnosis, follow the course of a pregnancy, and more. The images that are created by ultrasound technology are called sonograms, and they are similar to x-ray pictures, but they are produced as a result of the sound waves.

Ultrasounds are most commonly known for being used to confirm pregnancy and then follow the health and growth of the baby during pregnancy. What's more, ultrasounds are used during surgery, exploratory procedures, diagnostic tests and more.  An ultrasound probe is the device that actually emits the sound into the body to create the picture, or sonogram. Different probes are used for different reasons, and they emit different frequencies depending on the area of the body they are being used to examine. There are several types of probes, including internal and external ultrasound probes, and they have multiple uses. Let’s look at the different kind of probes, what they are used for, and how they can help medical professionals make decisions about patient health and wellness.

Is a Transducer different from an Ultrasound Probe?

In simple terms, a transducer and an ultrasound probe are essentially the same device. In some instances, probes are different shapes than traditional transducers and so are more commonly referred to as probes, but they function in the same manner and can provide 2D, 3D, and even 4D imaging capabilities. Physicians and ultrasound technicians need to know which probes or transducers to use in order to get the most information possible from a patient examination.

Patients do not experience any great deal of discomfort during an ultrasound examination, but because constant pressure must be maintained in order to achieve the desired images for diagnosis and to gather important medical information, patients may find the area that was being examined is uncomfortable for a while after the exam. It’s perfectly normal and all par for the course.

What are Ultrasound Probes and Transducers Used for?

There are several different types of ultrasound probes. These are just some of the most common types used in medical practices today.

Cardiac Transducers

This type of probe is used to determine heart health through echocardiography. These probes help physicians determine if there is anything wrong with a patient’s heart and if it is healthy for certain procedures and further tests.

Abdominal Transducers

When we think of ultrasounds, we typically think of the kind of ultrasound probes that are used during pregnancy and stomach examinations. Abdominal transducers and probes can be used to determine the health and condition of organs in the stomach, as well as the womb and fetus during pregnancy in women.

Vascular Transducers

This type of transducer can reach higher frequencies and can be used to examine veins and arteries in different locations in the body. When necessary, a vascular transducer can also be used to examine breast tissue, which can help physicians make diagnoses for certain conditions.

Endorectal Transducers

This type of transducer and probe doesn’t have many uses except to examine the rectum when colon cancer or rectal cancer is suspected. It can allow physicians to determine if there are any abnormalities present and provides further information for diagnosis.

Transvaginal Transducers

This type of probe is used during pregnancy, similar to an abdominal transducer, but is inserted into the vagina, rather than showing images through the abdominal wall. It is used in early stages of pregnancy to confirm pregnancy and throughout examinations as the pregnancy progresses.

What are the Typical Features of an Ultrasound Probe and Transducer?

Transducers and ultrasound probes are accessories for larger ultrasound and imaging machines. The size and shape of the transducer determines how much the physician or ultrasound technician can see on the screen. Ultrasound machines can typically last up to 10 years when they are taken care of and are cleaned and cared for properly. Most ultrasound probes are handheld and easy to use by trained professionals. The consist of a head, which is the actual part that touches the patient’s skin, and a cord which transmits the information back to the ultrasound machine to turn it into images.

How Do Ultrasound Machines Help Medical Professionals Make Decisions?

One of the most important factors in determining a diagnosis for a patient and their family is to have as much information as possible. Ultrasounds and transducers are just one piece of the bigger puzzle, but they can provide valuable images in a variety of forms including 2D, 3D and even 4D technology. These valuable pictures can provide physicians and specialists with the important information they need to provide families and patients with life-changing information.

Without the ability to see inside the body the way ultrasounds allow us to do, physicians are missing a big piece of that information puzzle. With the varying frequencies and sizes available for different ultrasound machines, there is virtually no part of the body that cannot be seen with an ultrasound probe and transducer, and modern medicine continues to rely on these important machines to help move practices along.

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