Ultrasound technology has improved significantly over the last decade thanks to advances in imaging technology as well as health care reform. These advances improve patient experiences and make diagnoses more accurate, all of which benefit patients suffering from various conditions. Keep reading to learn more about the latest in diagnostic imaging.
Improved Image Quality
If it’s been a while since your last ultrasound, you’ll probably remember how they used to be fuzzy and pixelated. Over the last decade, ultrasound imaging technology has improved dramatically, creating clearer and more defined pictures. Real-time computer imaging has helped increase processing speeds, which in turn produces better images. Improved image quality improves the rate of diagnosis accuracy, so your doctor can better attend to your health needs.
Volumetric ultrasound technology has been under development for the last several years. These innovative ultrasounds are used to create images with more depth and detail than traditional sonograms do. They can be used to identify tumors, analyze cardiac function, and more. This type of ultrasound gets its name from the ability to produce images with more visual volume, rather than a flat appearance, closely replicating the actual appearance of organs and systems. These ultrasounds can make diagnosis much easier in some instances.
Elastography looks specifically at the mechanical characteristics of tissues. It has been used in Europe for several years, but in the US the use has been limited. The FDA has approved only a few systems in the United States, like sonoelastography. Sonoelastography uses the same technology and equipment as other ultrasounds but is designed to measure tissue stiffness. Stiffness can indicate certain medical problems. This type of imaging will help physicians to better identify conditions, such as fibrosis of the liver, prostate cancer, and even breast lumps.
CEUS stands for “contrast-enhanced ultrasound.” The use of contrast and pigmentation is readily available in Europe, Canada, and China, with limited usage in the US. It's commonly used in scans of the digestive tract and heart. CEUS technology has proven very effective at tumor detection, a task that usually requires more advanced tests, such as a CT or MRI. With more advances in contrast technology, a CEUS scan could eventually replace the need for CT or MRI scans to test for cancer and other medical problems.
Health Care Reform
Political advances are also helping to improve ultrasound technology. As technology improves, more doctors are pushing for health care reform that utilizes the ultrasound. For example, when it comes to breast cancer screening, cancer is harder to detect in women with dense breast tissues. Many doctors have turned to ultrasound imaging to scan breast tissue where a traditional mammogram fails. Some states have even gone as far as to require radiology technicians to inform women when they have dense breasts so they can seek additional screening. Over a third of all breast cancer cases go undetected with a traditional mammogram because of the density of some breast tissue. However, with ABUS (Automated Breast Ultrasound) technology, more women are given a fighting chance.
To learn more about the latest advances in ultrasound technology and radiology diagnostic imaging in Suffolk County, NY, contact the medical professionals at Peconic Bay Medical Center. Discover for yourself how changes in ultrasound imaging can improve your health care experience.