Ultrasound brings new volume vision

Many cutting-edge ultrasound systems highlighted at RSNA are getting smaller but also more powerful, packing a seemingly endless amount of functionalities/capabilities. 3D/4D capability was oft-mentioned and grants sonographers a powerful tool for guiding through volume data. A number of systems allow for virtual rescans of raw image data. Of note, too, were several systems that provide tools that allow ultrasound images to be fused with static CT/MR, for example.

Aloka introduced its new ProSound Alpha 10 ultrasound system that includes a Real-Time 4D package with 3D measurements, 360 degrees of vertical and horizontal rotation, and a 1/2/4 way split screen for simultaneous display of a 4D image with as many as three additional sections.

Another highlighted feature was eFlow, a blood flow analysis tool that provides for sensitive detection of blood perfusion. Additionally, the ProSound Alpha 10's Compound Pulse-Wave Generator is capable of producing a transmission signal through on/off signal timing to reduce signal noise.

Ardent Sound Inc. (aka Guided Therapy Systems, Inc.) used RSNA to debut the Voyager compact ultrasound system.

Voyager is designed to function as a peripheral with a standard laptop or desktop personal computer. The DICOM compatible system features a flexible design, and with its PC platform enables end-users to regularly upgrade the system with new software and firmware, for instance, 3D and other options.

Also on display were the Spark ultra high-frequency array system and Seeker general-purpose array system.

Biosound Esaote Inc. showed new additions to its MyLab 70 which is geared for general imaging. Additions include a full set of ultrasound features for use in radiology, vascular applications as well as OB/GYN practitioners.

The upgradeable MyLab 15 and 20 were also on display, which are suited for OB/GYN and musculoskeletal applications. The systems are fully digital, include DICOM output, as well as an internal archive. MyLab 20 offers a color version.

MyLab 50 is geared for cardiovascular exams.

Esaote also showcased the work-in-progress Virtual Navigator which combines real-time ultrasound with static imaging.

GE Healthcare showcased its new Volume Imaging Protocol for ultrasound. The new technology gathers raw data and by using GE's LOGIQ 7 or 9 systems, the information can be shifted to a LOGIQworks workstation to be processed offline. The LOGIQ system includes a number of specialized tools and is based on a combination of the company's Centricity workstation capabilities.

The VIP technology allows for virtual re-scans of patients well after the original scan through manipulation of the raw data. Volumetric and multi-dimensional images can be created in real-time.

Hitachi Medical Systems highlighted new features of its HI VISION line of high-resolution digital ultrasound systems. The HI VISION 6500 system now includes Real-time 3D Imaging which enables users a number of 3D features and additional scanning parameters. This system also can be used for breast imaging.

The HI VISION 8500 system has a new feature called SonoElastography which is able to acquire tissue elasticity data through the use of freehand compression while a scan is going on.

Medison introduced new additions to its mid-range Sonoace 8000 live. One big addition to the system is the migration onto the system of the company's 3D Extended Imaging (3D XI) technology, which offers diagnostic ultrasound image processing. 3D XI is designed to bring CT and MRI-like imaging to ultrasound diagnosis.

Medison also showcased a new cardiovascular edition of the SonoAce Special Edition (SE). The mid-class ultrasound system has been outfitted with new processing technology, as well as CW (Continuous Wave) Doppler imaging and pulse inversion harmonic imaging.

Mindray showcased its DP-9900Plus Digital Ultrasonic Diagnostic Imaging System which puts to use the company's all-digital ultrasound technology. The system joins ultra broad-band, multi-frequency technology with an ergonomic engineering design.

Philips Medical Systems showcased its iU22 Intelligent Ultrasound System which now includes new cardiology capabilities such as Live 3D Echo and 3D/4D abdominal image quality, on- and off-cart upgrades to QLAB Quantification Software, and a new L9-3 transducer. SonoCT with XRES technology is part of the iU22 system for 3D, 4D and MPR imaging which allows for such new applications as real-time 4D imaging of the fetal heart.

Another system, the HD11 XE, is a multi-specialty system which is capable of spatial-temporal image correlation; iSCAN Intelligent Optimization technology; Region of Interest (ROI) quantification; Strain Quantification; and interchangeable transducers.

Also highlighted was the HD3 which is a more basic model geared for general office exams.

Siemens Medical Solutions highlighted upgrades to its Sequoia system that include a new high-resolution, flat-panel monitor, ergonomic features which make the system more easily transportable, a memory stick device for patient data transport, and a DVD burner for image storage.

The Encompass II release features high-resolution color flow (HRCF), a technology that applies Chirp-coded excitation to color Doppler to dramatically address spatial resolution and sensitivity.

Siemens also showcased advances such as its Cadence contrast pulse sequencing (CPS) technology for improved contrast detection and specificity for molecular imaging with ultrasound.

SonoSite Inc. emphasized the new capabilities of its MicroMaxx hand-carried ultrasound at RSNA. New features of the MicroMaxx include:

  • Two new broadband transducers, the P10/8-4, a high-frequency, phased-array probe for pediatric and neonatal radiology, and the SLA/13-6, a high-frequency linear array;
  • SonoRES for speckle reduction;
  • Transcranial Doppler; and
  • Wireless capabilities.

TeraRecon Inc. highlighted its partnership with Fukuda Denshi Co. Ltd. through which the companies introduced a cart-based cardiovascular ultrasound scanner - the Imagic Sigma 5000 series.

Terason showcased its newly launched t3000 and t2000 ultrasound systems.

The Terason t3000 system is based upon Teratech Architecture that combines the front-end Fusion Processor with PC-based back-end data processing. They can be quickly converted from a portable unit to a cart-based system.

The t2000 includes SmartProbe which allows standard laptop computers to provide high-quality diagnostic images usually associated with larger systems.

Also shown was the Echo Ultrasound System with front-end Fusion processor with powerful PC-based back-end data processing.

Toshiba America Medical Systems Inc. demonstrated the newest features for its Aplio and Xario systems. The company has expanded the Differential Tissue Harmonic Imaging (DTHI) capabilities for the Aplio XV premium edition for use with difficult to scan patients; and introduced 4D imaging for the lower priced Xario.

Each of the systems includes the ability to save native data captured during an exam to allow for "virtual rescans."

Ultrasonix Medical Corp. previewed its Sonix Live ultrasound video streaming technology in conjunction with the company's Sonix SP ultrasound system.

Sonix Live is designed so that doctors in remote areas of the world will be able to utilize the live video streaming to potentially review images from the other side of the globe.

U-Systems showcased its Automated Breast Ultrasound System (ABUS) that is able to scan the breast and correlate a region of interest on the mammogram with its corresponding ultrasound image. The ABUS contains two main components, an Automated Breast Scan Station (ABS) and a BreastView Station (BVS). Through these features, the system acquires 3D volumetric breast image data for display.

Zonare Medical Systems introduced upgrades to its convertible z.one ultrasound system.

Through new software, it can counter body wall thickness, fat layer and tissue attenuation by offering a way to automatically adjust the sound speed based on differences in a patient's body habitus and instantly optimize the clinical image.

New transducers debuting include: the P10-4 that was developed for imaging neonatal, infant, and pediatric patients; the new P4-1 allows easy access in abdominal and OB/Gyn sonography, and includes nine frequencies; and the L8-3 is a new linear transducer offering.

Zonare also highlighted new calculation packages for abdominal and venous imaging.







Ultrasound Peripherals

Biodex Medical Systems highlighted the latest in its ultrasound and echocardiography tables, highlighting the new Sound Pro which combines imaging features from its Ultra Pro and Echo Pro tables.

Civco Medical Instruments introduced its new CIVCO Assist Positioning Arm System which allows physicians to place and hold instruments to aid treatment when performing ablations, biopsies and other minimally invasive procedures in ultrasound, but also CT.