An ultrasound machine uses high frequency sound waves and theirechoes to help determine the size, shape and depth of an abnormality.It allow various organs in the body to be examined right in thedoctor's office or clinic. In a typical ultrasound, millions of pulsesand echoes are sent and received from the probe each second.A basic ultrasound machine has the following parts:
Transducer probe- The probe is the mouth and ears of the ultrasound machine. In theprobe, there are one or more quartz crystals called piezoelectriccrystals. When an electric current is applied to these crystals, theychange shape rapidly. The rapid shape changes, or vibrations, of thecrystals produce sound waves that travel outward. The sound wavestravel into the patient being scanned. The sound waves bounce back atvarious intervals depending on the type of material they pass through.
Central Processing Unit (CPU)- The CPU is the brain of an ultrasound machine. The CPU is a computerthat contains the microprocessor, memory, amplifiers and power suppliesfor the microprocessor and transducer probe. The transducer receiveselectrical currents from the CPU and sends electrical pulses that arecreated by returning echoes.
Transducer pulse controls- The operator, called the ultrasonographer, changes the amplitude,frequency and duration of the pulses emitted from the transducer probe
Display- Displays the image from the ultrasound data processed by the CPU.This image can be either in black-and-white or color, depending uponthe model of the ultrasound machine
Keyboard/cursor - Ultrasound machines have a keyboard and a cursor. The keyboard allowsthe operator to add notes and to take measurements of the image.
Disk storage device- The processed data and/or images can be stored on disks (hard disks,floppy disks, CD, or DVD). They can also be stored digitally so theycan be accessed from the office or anywhere you have an Internetconnection.
Printer - Most ultrasound machines have thermal printers. These can be used to capture a printed picture of the image from the monitor.
Dependingon the make and model of the ultrasound, there may be additional partsor options. Some suppliers offer options, like an endovaginal andendorectal transducers, that offer higher resolution than that of atraditional abdominal transducer. More features have been added tosmaller, portable ultrasound machines, making them a versatile,powerful, lower-cost alternative for many doctors and clinics.