What is an Ultrasound Machine?

Ultrasound is a popular medical technique that has been used for many years. An ultrasound machine is commonly used by obstetricians to view the development of a growing fetus. It can also be used for other purposes, such as seeing inside the heart to check for abnormalities or checking blood flow to the kidneys. Ultrasound machines are valuable assets to doctors of various specialties.

An ultrasound machine uses high frequency sound waves and their echoes to form images; it works in a fashion similar to the echolocation used by dolphins and bats. When the machine’s probe releases sound waves, these waves travel through the body. When they hit a boundary between different types of tissue, they bounce back to the machine. Millions of echoes can be received in a single second. The machine is able to use these unique sounds to calculate the distance from the probe and form an image.

The machine itself is composed of seven basic parts: the transducer probe, the central processing unit, the transducer pulse controls, the display, the keyboard/cursor, a disk storage device, and a printer. The traducer probe is the main piece; it sends out the sound waves and receives echoes. The central processing unit is the part of the machine that calculates data used to form images. The transducer pulse controls can change the frequency and volume of sounds emitted into the body by the probe. Obviously, the display is where the images can be viewed. A keyboard/cursor combination serves the purpose of putting data in so it can form images. Any type of disk storage device can be used to save images that appear on the display, while the printer is used to print images.

Ultrasound machines serve many useful purposes in our modern world. They can allow a pregnant woman to see her future child for the very first time or help a doctor find and treat a heart abnormality. Using relatively few parts and technology that has been around for over fifty years, an ultrasound machine is able to do amazing things.

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