Ultrasound – Future of the Technology
Question from: Steve Owens
Answer: Terry Sharrer, PhD
I’m not an expert in ultrasound, but I’d guess that high intensity, focused ultrasound will become an increasingly useful surgical tool.
Ultrasound has long been used for breaking up kidney stones, but high intensity, focused waves can generate enough heat to burn out tumors, such as uterine fibroids. If a lung can be sufficiently deflated or somehow, temporarily filled with fluid, HIFUS could be applied to lung cancer tumors–in a kind of “non-invasive” approach.
Both GE and Siemens now have mobile pocket ultrasound devices: GE’s “Vscan,” Siemens’ “P10.” Here’s an interesting YouTube clip on thedevelopment of Vscan
I don’t know how much these devices cost, but if they prove their usefulness in, say, EMT units, my guess is that they would be picked up by home nursing providers, et al.
Ultrasound is cool, but there may be a competing field that’s emerging in infrared imaging. Heat sensitivity can reveal wound healing, vascular identity, developing melanomas, and other features on and beneath the skin. What’s needed for this is an ultra-high speed camera and the capability of detecting .01 degree of temperature change.
Hope this is helpful. Thank you for asking. Best, Terry Sharrer, Editor, Tagline
Steve, Terry Sharrer hit the nail on the head with his extensive answer. Let me add a link to a pocket ultrasound device that forecasts the future of ultrasound. This technology is becoming more ubiquitous and inexpensive to a point where a pocket ultrasound will be as common as the stethoscope. There are few hurdles to overcome in terms of resolution, but I understand from Bill Walker that good progress is being made in this area.
Best regards, Robin A. Felder, PhD