Siemens makes ultrasound pocket-sized, elastic
One of the most interesting ultrasound technologies Siemens Medical Solutions had on display at RSNA 2006 this year was its new ACUSON P10, part of the company’s new P-Class systems that are described as pocket ultrasound systems. The system is pending FDA clearance. Essentially, these small devices are like ultrasound stethoscopes, said Barbara Del Prince, senior marketing manager within Siemens Ultrasound Division.

Perhaps in the future these little systems will have use in regular physical exams. Certainly, some of Siemens’ early promotion of the system make it sound like everyone will be able to have their own personal ultrasound device.

However, the most practical use might be as an excellent triage device that could be used anywhere, said Del Prince, since it is literally designed to fit nicely inside your lab coat.

Another very interesting technology on display was the company’s new ACUSON Antares system, premium edition, which will offer advances in breast ultrasound technology with elasticity imaging technology package, which is expected to enable physicians to accurately distinguish characteristics of breast lesions, more clearly demonstrating relative tissue stiffness or hardness, infiltration, and cystic regions. This new capability may reduce reliance on invasive breast biopsy procedures, based on initial research released by Siemens which is being conducted by Richard G. Barr, MD, PhD, professor of radiology at Northeastern Ohio University’s College of Medicine and radiologist at Southwoods X-ray and MRI in Youngstown. 

Using Siemens’ real-time, free-hand elasticity imaging technique, Dr. Barr studied 166 breast lesions identified and scheduled for biopsy in 99 patients, and found the technology delivered sensitivity to the highest degree.

“Initial findings indicate that elasticity technology has high specificity for the investigation of breast lesions,” said Barr. “The technique is a modification of a routine ultrasound exam, yet with no noticeable difference to the patient, while still offering diagnostic confidence to both the physician and the patient.”

In addition to elasticity imaging, the Antares system, premium edition, will be equipped with Advanced SieClear Spatial Compounding, which includes unique tissue stabilization technology to deliver high detail and contrast resolution, and Dynamic TCE Tissue Contrast Enhancement, for B-mode imaging through speckle reduction for improved contrast resolution and image presentation.

Also, the new Fetal Assessment Application includes syngo Auto OB measurements and Advanced fourSight technology providing broad 3D/4D acquisition, rendering, and post-processing functionality such as multi-slice and thick-slice imaging, curved multi-planar reconstruction (MPR), as well as Amnioscopic Rendering, an innovative surface rendering technique.

Other ultrasound technologies at the show included:

  • The company’s new X Class products with the ACUSON X300 and ACUSON X500 ultrasound systems, which have been designed to address ergonomic concerns of users and are equipped to handle a wide range of applications throughout varied environments;
  • The new High Performance Imaging release for the ACUSON Sequoia ultrasound system, which has been the top-selling ultrasound system in the U.S. for eight years running, also includes the new Advanced SieClear Spatial Compounding technology with Dynamic TCE capabilities. In addition, two new transducers will be available for the Sequoia, including the 17L5 HD transducer, a high-density ergonomic probe that delivers never-before-seen detail in imaging of small parts, breast, and subtle pathologies. Vascular imaging has been enhanced through the introduction of the 9L4 transducer, a one-transducer solution that addresses cerebrovascular, peripheral arterial and deep venous imaging. The new release for the ACUSON Antares is pending FDA clearance; the releases for both the Antares and the Sequoia will be available in the first calendar quarter of 2007;
  • The company’s new ACUSON X300 and X500 ultrasound systems made their RSNA debut. Both are equipped with an ErgoDynamic imaging system design and broad range of clinical capabilities. The X500 system is an advanced, multi-specialty system suitable for a wide range of radiology and cardiology applications, and offers optional transesophageal and stress echocardiography capabilities. The X300 is an ultra-compact designed for clinical efficiency and busy settings such as emergency rooms. The system features an operator-friendly console that helps to reduce arm and hand movement and includes small, lightweight transducers. The X300 is currently shipping to customers worldwide; the X500 is expected to be available in early December 2006.