A broad range of clinical applications, especially prenatal diagnosis, make use of diagnostic ultrasound. So far, there are no recorded incidences of any harm caused to humans or the developing fetus as a result of diagnostic ultrasound.
The excellent safety records notwithstanding, ultrasound imaging should only be carried out by individuals who are fully trained and certified to safely and properly operate the equipment. Diagnostic ultrasound obviously involves the ejection of energy into the body, and only trained scan operators can safely control the output power levels of the equipment.
Operating a Diagnostic Ultrasound Equipment
The most fundamental approach to using a diagnostic ultrasound equipment is to set the output power to the lowest level and take the shortest possible scan time you need to gather the required diagnostic information. This principle is often referred to as ALARA principle, meaning “as low as reasonably achievable.”
The mechanical index (MI) as wells as the thermal index (TI) provide the operator with signals of the probable bio-effects of the ultrasound equipment. TI gives an on-screen indication of any possibility of tissue temperature rise while the MI gives an indication of any relative possibility for induced adverse bio-effect as a result of non-thermal mechanisms like cavitation. Additionally, TI may display three possible outcomes, including TIB (thermal index for bones) TIS (thermal index soft tissues), and TIC (thermal index for cranial bones).
Now, the fetus or embryo is more at risk of suffering bio-effects, so when carrying out obstetric scans, you should restrict yourself to the recommended scanning times. The standard scanning times are based on the potential thermal effects occasioned by the scan. However, MI values should be maintained at the lowest reasonably achievable limits.
The other types of ultrasound examinations are often less sensitive compared to the obstetric scans, but you should still adhere to the recommended scan times. Some of these scans may include neonatal, gynecological, cardiac, general abdominal, and so much more.
Key Safety Principles for Using Diagnostic Ultrasound
Here is a summary of the key safety principles to consider when operating a diagnostic ultrasound equipment:
- Only trained individuals should operate an ultrasound equipment since they understand the potential mechanical and thermal bio-effects and proper equipment settings.
- Ultrasound imaging is only meant for medical diagnosis.
- You should keep the examination times as short as possible.
- Output power levels should be set at the lowest reasonably achievable levels.
- Pregnancy scans should never be taken for purposes of producing souvenir photographs or videos.
Whether you’re looking to begin your career as an ultrasound specialist or you simply want to advance your skills in this diverse field, you need to register with a seasoned educational forum or institution. You can take up ultrasound reviews for breast, abdominal, vascular, musculoskeletal, gyn, pediatric echocardiography, and so much more.