The Ultrasound Specialists
|Many people ask us about the difference between New, Used and Refurbished ultrasound systems. What is right for you depends on several things including Application, Needs & Features, Service, Training, Archival method and of course Budget. With the quality of new low cost systems the difference in cost is getting harder to justify. An analogy that many people can relate with is that of cars.
New Ultrasound System means you are purchasing an ultrasound system that has never been used before and it normally comes straight from the manufacturer or authorized dealer. Distributors can buy large lots of systems for resale. It is like buying an automobile from an new car dealership.
Used Ultrasound Systems come from another clinician or another third party source. Many times they do not come with a warranty or training. It is similar to purchasing a car from a used car lot or from a classified ad.
Refurbished Ultrasound is usually purchased from the manufacturer or 3rd party distributor who has taken the system in and performed various quality checks to make sure it meets certain standards. They can often include limited warranties and may or may not include training. It is similar to purchasing a certified used car.
Common Ultrasound Terms
Absorption - A process in which sound energy is scattered and converted to heat resulting in a decreased energy content in the propagated beam. Absorption is proportional to frequency.
Acoustic Impedance - The resistance to transmit ultrasound waves.
Acoustic Shadow - Loss of acoustic properties of structures lying behind an attenuating structure.
Aliasing - An erroneous presentation of the Doppler shift.
Anechoic - Structures that do not generate echoes. These structures are darker or black such as fluid.
Angle of Incidence - The angle formed by a sound wave and a line perpendicular to the surface on which the beam is reflected. The angle of incidence is equal to the angle of reflection so that a received signal intensity depends on the angular relationship between the emitted sound beam and the reflecting boundary.
Anisotropic- Having different optical properties depending on insonation from different directions. The ultrasound image changes with a change in the angle of the sound beam.
Annular Array - Transducer array made up of ring shaped elements arranged concentrically.
Anterior - Front
Artifact - An artificial or inaccurate display of information (image or Doppler) caused by the limitations of technology & physics to interpret information produced by the ultrasound system.
Attenuation - The reduction in amplitude (intensity) of the ultrasound wave as it travels through a medium. Losses due to absorption, scattering and beam divergence. The by product of attenuation is heat.
Axial resolution - The ability to distinguish two objects as separate when they lie directly over each other.
B-mode - 2 Dimensional, gray scale real-time ultrasound imaging.
Brightness - Image brightness can be affected or controlled by the monitor setup or a variety of controls such as TGC, overall gain, post processing and so forth.
Caudad - Towards the feet.
Cephalad - Towards the head.
Contrast - The ability to distinguish between two structures or media composed of different textures.
Contrast Resolution - Represents image quality defined by a gray scale assigned different signal amplitudes. This resolution must be able to distinguish between subtle structures in acoustic impedance within internal body structures.
Color Flow Doppler (CFM) - Ultrasound mode that uses color and shades of color to represent blood flow information.
Continuous Wave Doppler (CW) - CW Doppler continually samples blood flow along the path of the ultrasound beam.
Coronal - Divides the body into anterior and posterior.
Coupling Gel - Water based gel that ensures air-free contact between the patient's skin and the ultrasound transducer.
Depth - Distance from the transducer to the farthest point in the imaging plane. The depth setting influences the frame rate of the image.
Detail Resolution - The ability to distinguish small structures with clarity.
Distal - Away from the heart.
Doppler Effect - The mode of ultrasound that is used to detect movement of red blood cells in the heart and blood vessels. Doppler provides information on the speed and characteristics of blood flow pattern in an artery, vein or cardiac chamber.
Duplex - Ultrasound technology combining B-mode imaging and Doppler.
Echogenicity - The relative reflectivity of a tissue caused by differences in acoustic impedance of adjacent tissue. Structures that generate echoes.
Far Field - Scanned structures and their position on the half of the screen away from the transducer face.
Focus - The distance from the transducer to the narrowest beam width in the imaging plane.
Frame Rate - The rate of updating real-time ultrasound images with a refreshed frame.
Frequency - The number of cycles per unit of time (usually seconds) how fast the ultrasound waves are transmitted and received.
Gain - A measure of the amplitude (intensity) applied to the returning ultrasound signal.
Gray Scale - Information on the intensity and numbers of reflected sound waves is converted into gray scale values as shown on the monitor of the scanner. The relative intensities range from black areas (anechoic) to white areas (hyperechoic).
Harmonic Imaging - Ultrasound imaging mode that emits waves at one frequency and receives them at a higher frequency. May improve substandard images.
Hertz - The basic unit of frequency equal to one cycle per second. Example 1 MHz. = 1,000,000 Hz or 1,000,000 cycles per second.
Heteroechoic - Mixed echogenicity, i.e. containing both dark and bright areas.
Heterogeneous - Not uniform, irregular in echo structure.
Homogeneous - Uniform in echo structure.
Hyperechoic - Increased echogenicity, represented by bright areas.
Hypoechoic - Decreased echogenicity, represented by darker areas.
Inferior - Below
Isoechoic - Same echogenicity (gray scale) as surrounding areas.
Lateral - Away from midline. Opposite of medial.
Lateral Resolution - The ability to resolve two objects lying side by side as two distinct objects on the image.
Linear Array Transducer - The linear array ultrasound probe has a large number of transducer elements and a linear display. Each transducer element is electronically fired. Linear array probes are mainly used for vascular, musculoskeletal, small parts and breast scanning.
Longitudinal - Long axis of the body, lengthwise. Same as sagittal. Standard orientation has probe indicator pointed toward the head.
Medial - Towards the midline. Opposite of lateral.
M-mode - The ultrasound mode known as motion-mode, mainly used in cardiac exams and OB. M-mode graphs motion in relation to time in an one dimensional display. M-mode is primarily used to measure chambers, valve sizes and heart rates.
Motion Discrimination - The ability to accurately display changing physiology in real-time as shown in spectral display.
Near Field - Scanned structures and their position on the half of the screen near to the transducer face.
Piezoelectric Effect - An effect that takes place when an electric field is applied in a certain direction on a crystalline substance. The material has the property of converting electrical energy to mechanical energy (sound) and vice versa.
Posterior - Back
Post Processing - The assignment of received ultrasound amplitudes to shades of gray. An adjustment of the image brightness assigned to reflected ultrasound amplitudes, after scan converter processing but before display.
Power Doppler - Ultrasound mode that uses color flow processing to display the amplitude of the Doppler signal. Power Doppler is useful in assessing slow flow.
Propagation - The transmission of ultrasound waves through material.
Proximal - Closer to the heart.
Pulsed Wave Doppler (PW) - PW Doppler samples blood flow in a small area of the blood vessel or specific site in the heart. PW Doppler is incorporated into imaging probes that use Doppler.
Reflection - The process by which a portion of the sonic energy incident on an interface is reflected back either along the incident pathway or on a new pathway. Acoustic reflection follows the same rules as light reflection.
Refraction - The process of bending of a sound beam away from its straight pathway at the interface of two media.
Resolution - the ability to perceive two adjacent objects or points as separate.
Sagittal - A vertical plane, dividing the body into right and left. Long axis of the body, lengthwise. Same as longitudinal. Standard orientation has probe indicator pointed toward the head.
Scattering - Diffusion or redirection of sound in several directions on encountering a particle suspension or a rough surface.
Sensitivity - Statistical research term indicating the ability of a diagnostic test to detect disease when disease is actually present. Poor sensitivity is a high false negative rate.
Shadowing - Reduction in reflection amplitude from reflectors that lie behind a strongly reflecting or attenuating structure.
Sharpness - Having a clear, distinct form of detail. Usually structures that contain a higher percentage of specular reflectors have a greater inherent sharpness.
Spatial Resolution - The ability to resolve fine structures and flows and display them in their correct anatomic positions.
Specificity - Statistical research term relating the ability of a diagnostic test to indicate normalcy when no disease is actually present. Poor specificity is a high false positive rate.
Superior - Above
Time Gain Compensation (TGC) - Selective gain amplification to compensate for loss in echo intensity due to attenuation. Permits echoes from greater depths to have same intensity as those from shallow sites. Sometimes called STC.
Transverse - Cross section of the body, perpendicular to the long axis. Standard orientation has probe indicator pointed to the right side of the body.
Ultrasound - That portion of the acoustic spectrum above 20 thousand cycles per second (hertz) considered the upper level of normal human hearing.
Uniformity - Being without variation or fluctuation, consistent in appearance.
*All systems are quoted with one transducer and most basic configuration. Shipping and appropriate tax will be added to final invoice.
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