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Ultrasound in Modern Medicine

Ultrasound exam during pregnancy | © Roman Kosolapov /

Sonography is an imaging procedure in which ultrasound waves are used to examine organic tissue. Sonography is very popular, not only because of its low cost, but also because the use of ultrasound is quite risk-free with the right dosage.

This is primarily due to the fact that the sound waves emitted by the ultrasound device are of relatively low energy. Therefore, in contrast to X-Ray, the patients are not exposed to any radiation, and during the ultrasound examination they only feel a slight warming of the examined body part. 3D sonography uses 2D images and generates parallel layer images and assembles them.

With 4D ultrasound, the 3D image blocks are processed very quickly one after the other, so that three or more images per second can be displayed. For example, the child's movements, heartbeat and blood flow can be displayed in real time. In principle, ultrasound examinations are carried out in the preventive examinations of pregnant women, neurology, neurosurgery and the examination of the heart or abdomen.

In recent years, the use of ultrasound machines has increasingly gained acceptance in the field of electrotherapy. With the help of ultrasound therapy, pain can be alleviated, healing processes can be supported and tensions in the musculoskeletal system can be released. Ultrasound is also used in cosmetics, for example to treat scars or stretch marks.

Prices and Areas of Application (Specializations)

Popular field of application: Ultrasound therapy | © Praisaeng /

Ultrasound diagnostics is extremely popular in medicine. In addition, sonography offers doctors a number of advantages. For example, the acquisition and maintenance costs of an ultrasound device are generally much lower than other large medical devices and start at around 10,000 euros net.

Modern ultrasound devices can also generate images in real time other than static and moving images. This offers many advantages, for example in the context of a prenatal check-up. Ultrasound devices can be used flexibly, because almost every organ of the human body can be examined by sonography thanks to a large number of probe types. Ultrasound devices are increasingly being used in general medicine, internal medicine, gynaecology, obstetrics and veterinary medicine.

Application Area Ultrasound Machine Feature Costs (new, inc. Installation)
General Medicine Color Doppler An important field of application is Echocardiography 15.000 - 30.000 €
Graphical Heart Examination
Ultrasound Probes Linear, Convex and Sector Probes
Typical, two-dimensional ultrasound image
3D-/4D-Ultrasound 3D Images or Real-Time Video Recording (4D)
Produces three-dimensional ultrasonic echo blocks
Internal Medicine Echocardiography Ultrasound Cardiography is one of the most important components of cardiological diagnostics 15.000 - 50.000 €
Measuring the thickness of the inner layer of carotid artery
TEE Probes Special probe type for Echocardiography
The probe is inserted into the patient via the esophagus (Transesophageal Echocardiography).
Doppler Sonography Function for determining blood flow velocity
Enables colored display of the blood flow
Gynaecology and Obstetrics Vaginal ultrasound examination Gynaecological screening and examination of organs 15.000 - 40.000 €
The vaginal ultrasound is painless and risk-free for the patient.
Vaginal Probe In direct contact with the examined organ
Monitoring of an organ or control of the position of a copper spiral
Black/White B-Mode (Obstetrics) Multiple pixels result in one image line
Two-dimensional representation of a sectional ultrasound image
Veterinary Medicine Conventional Ultrasound Machines The probes for veterinary ultrasound must be purchased separately. 10.000 - 25.000 €
The examination is painless and can be performed without general anesthesia.
Mobile VET Ultrasound Machines Examination of organs such as heart, kidneys and intestines
Suitable for home visits

Tips: Buying an Ultrasound Machine

Which ultrasound device will you choose? | © Paisit Teeraphatsakool /

The price of an ultrasound diagnostic machine depends primarily on the size and the desired functions. As a rule, ultrasound machines with a real-time 4D display are more expensive than devices without such a function.

Therefore, before purchasing, you should carefully consider how the system will be used in daily practice and which ultrasound probe is needed. A mobile, basic model, which displays the images in black and white, is already available from approx. 3,000 Euros net, whereas state-of-the-art ultrasound machines with 3D and 4D display are often available in a price range of approx. 15,000 to 100,000 Euros net.

However, it is also possible to buy used ultrasound machines and save some money . Only if the user knows how to optimally adjust the ultrasound device and is familiar with the various options can he make a reliable diagnosis. A thorough briefing and regular further training is therefore a prerequisite for the purchase and use of an ultrasound device.

Well-known Manufacturers in the Ultrasound Sector

The medical equipment market is home to a large number of manufacturers of a wide variety of ultrasound machines. Some manufacturers have focused on individual medical specialties, while others have a broader product range and try to cover the whole ultrasound diagnostics. Here you can learn more about the individual manufacturers and their products.

According to current surveys, GE, Philips and Siemens are among the most popular manufacturers of ultrasound equipment. Some buyers also choose companies such as Toshiba, Esaote or Mindray. Many buyers, however, state that they have no preference for manufacturers when purchasing an ultrasound machine.

For instance, a simple Doppler device with a convex probe and possibly a linear probe for a more detailed imaging of superficial structures are often sufficient for a dermatologist. On the other hand, gynecological, urological or cardiological examinations require more specific functions and special probes.

Ultrasound Manufacturer A-J Ultrasound Manufacturer K-Z
Alpinion Kalamed
Canon Konica Minolta
Carestream Mindray
Chison Philips
Edan Samsung
Esaote Siemens
eZono SonoScape
GE Healthcare SonoSite

Maintenance and Service for Ultrasound Machines

Is the picture quality right? | © Shipov Oleg /

Wear and tear and technical aging can reduce the performance and image quality of any ultrasound machine. In addition, there are recommendations for testing the quality of the image reproduction devices. With the further development of technology, new possibilities are also emerging for technical quality testing.

Test records must be kept for regular maintenance. These must be kept for the duration of the use of an ultrasonic system. Here you will find an example of a test report:

Test Preparation Sanitation Test "Electrical Operational Safety" Test "View monitor" Device and Probe testing using a dummy
General Information Cleaning and Disinfection of the Ultrasound Unit Assessment and documentation of the results Treatment Conditions Testing the overall function of the ultrasound machine
Machine Type Safety Evaluation Greyscale Rendering Testing of axial and lateral resolution, testing of layer thickness resolution
Test and Measuring equipment used Cleaning the sound probes and cables Visual inspection of the ultrasound machine, probes and electrical measurements Maximum Contrast Checking the geometrical accuracy, checking the sound probes for defective (or missing) elements
Optimum room temperature: 20° to 24°C Burns on the monitor

Ultrasound Examination: Information for Patients

Avoid non-medical ultrasound use | © KieferPix /

For the patients, all scanning methods follow the same pattern: depending on the body part examined, the application can be carried out standing, sitting or lying down. As a rule, the examinations are completely painless. Only ultrasound examinations, in which the probe must be inserted into the body, can cause slight discomfort.

It is precisely because the proper use of ultrasound is classified as harmless and completely painless for the patient that ultrasound examinations are most frequently used in the preventive examinations of pregnant women as part of prenatal diagnostics. According to current studies, the sensitive tissue of the unborn child cannot be damaged by the low dose of ultrasound.

In addition, the patients feel nothing during the application except a slight warming of the examined body part. Nevertheless, the ultrasound therapy should not be carried out negligently either, as an overdose can lead to overheating and possibly to bleeding of the tissue or burns on the periosteum.

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