“What are you looking at? Is there a fetus in there, doc?”
Over recent years, ultrasound has permeated our specialty and become a core component in how we provide patient care. It allows us to obtain real time information and make clinical decisions, all while avoiding the harms of more traditional imaging techniques.
But what exactly is going on behind the scenes here? How do we go from magic vibrating crystals to 50 shades of grey on the screen? (Ok, so maybe it’s more like 256 shades of grey).
As with any new technology, it is important to know the ins and outs of the machines we are using. Whether it is the basic science behind ultrasound and how images and artifacts are produced, or simply where the buttons are, this knowledge allows us to safely and effeciently provide those services our patients so dearly need.
With that in mind, let’s take a step back to your high school physics course for a deep dive into what makes our ultrasound machines tick.