What are the latest innovations in ultrasound?

We often talk about ultrasound in the context of pregnancy. In addition to the emotional aspect that these moments take on for the parents, it is above all a question here of putting medical imaging at the service of the family to follow the growth of the fetus and detect any anomalies. And the applications of this popular technology for diagnostics and ultrasound-guided surgeries are becoming ever more numerous as technological innovations appear.


When patients are isolated due to medical desertification, tele-consultation and tele-expertise can provide a solution. This tool in full development (and in full advent, it must also be said) allows a specialized doctor to remotely manipulate a probe linked to an articulated arm. As part of this robotic tele-echography, the doctor can therefore not only perform, but also interpret the examination.

Always more precision

The modern ultrasound system aims to be more and more reliable and precise. This more particularly involves a high-resolution image making it possible, for example, to see what is happening under the skin in the context of a dermatological examination, for example for the detection of skin cancer. By using intravenous contrast product, pathological tissues become more easily identifiable.

The use of high frequency waves (50 MHz) makes it possible to go even further in the diagnosis. In ophthalmology, this makes it possible to precisely study a cornea or glaucoma. But it also finds its use in obstetrics during the early stages of pregnancy.

A major advance is also due to the reduction of invasive procedures such as biopsy. Using high-frequency waves, elastography allows the study of hepatic or breast tumor lesions.

Hardware reduced in size, but still more efficient

Among the many innovations in the field of ultrasound, there is in particular the portable ultrasound scanner Orcheo Lite from the Parisian firm Sonoscanner, which offers ultrasound scanners for all health professionals both in France and abroad. This portable ultrasound system designed and manufactured 100% in France is the first of its kind. It has the advantage of combining the precision of conventional devices and the ease of use of compact devices « . Despite its light weight (five kilograms, it indeed offers a high resolution image and takes readings to tenths of a millimeter).

Ultrasound probes also offer a smaller format allowing intravisceral examinations (with endoscopes provided for this purpose) or intravascular examinations. This is particularly useful in case of stenosis, in particular to determine the size and the nature of the latter. With this technique, it becomes possible to study coronary arteries whose diameter does not exceed 2 to 5 mm.

3D ultrasound performed at the thirtieth week. Credit: Frombonusmomtobiomom

Another innovation is the possibility of performing ultrasounds in 3D, or even in 4D (dynamic). If the classic 2D ultrasound is strange, 3D ultrasounds can be performed by a professional to check if there is indeed an abnormality. But many private companies are getting into this business and offering parents 3D souvenirs of the fetus. Although these practices seem attractive to parents increasingly motivated to see their offspring, it is often more commercial than medical and it is not without danger. Better resolution is achieved by using more powerful ultrasound, but the longer the exposure, the greater the risk to the fetus. Certain key parts (such as the profile, the face or the genitals) are overexposed to the fetus to the biological effects of this radiation.

Sources: Vulgaris-Medical; Thema-Radiology; TheDispatch

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