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Ultrasound Technology Advances

written by: Angela Atkinson•edited by: lrohner•updated: 7/31/2008

Ultrasound technology is continuing to be a useful and important diagnostic in medical fields and research in science and continues to help improve other areas of study.

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    Ultrasound technology is thought to be one of the safest and least invasive methods of medical diagnostic testing and does not use harmful chemicals such as radiation, which can create hazards to humans. Ultrasound technology does have two possible effects physiologically however – it can enhance the inflammatory response in humans and it can increase the heat in soft tissues. Ultrasounds produce a kind of mechanical pressure that is conducted through soft tissue and the pressure used is able to cause bubbles in the tissue, cell membrane distortion and have influences on ions and cellular activity.

    Ultrasound is a cycle of sound pressure and frequencies that are greater and higher that the limit of what human hearing is capable of. Each person has a different level of hearing that they can detect, although ultrasound vibrations and frequencies are not able to be heard by any human. The production of ultrasound technology has been developed and used in many different fields of science and medicine. Most people are most aware with ultrasound technology with producing sonography pictures of unborn babies during the pregnancy cycles.

    There are also biomedical applications for ultrasound technology. It has very good therapeutic applications and can be beneficial when used together with drug therapy.

    Some of the applications it is used for include:

    • Treating malignant and benign tumors through focused ultrasound surgery or high intensity focused ultrasound. Both of these procedures use lower frequencies than other medical ultrasound techniques.
    • Delivering chemotherapy treatments to cancer cells and other drugs to tissues through acoustic targeted drug delivery. This procedure uses high frequency ultrasound. The acoustic energy focuses on the tissue and can make it easier to absorb therapeutic drugs.
    • Therapeutic ultrasound is a technique that uses powerful sources to generate a heating in the tissue and is used in occupational therapy, physical therapy and cancer treatments.
    • Teeth cleaning in dental hygiene.
    • Cataract treatments by using focused ultrasound sources
    • Physiological effects of low intensity ultrasound have also been discovered for the ability to initiate bone growth and has potential for disrupting the blood and brain barriers for the delivery of drugs/
    • Liposuction using ultrasound assisted lipectomy.
    • Ultrasound can be used for elastography. This is helpful in certain medical diagnosis because elasticity can determine healthy tissue from unhealthy tissue in growths and organs.
    • Ultrasound technology has been shown to be synergetic with antibiotics in killing bacteria cells.
    • Ultrasound technology has bee postulated to create thicker cell tissue cultures by increasing the absorption of nutrients.
    • Ultrasonic cleaners can be used for jewelry and optical services.

    The technology continues to advance and new uses are being discovered for ultrasound technology. In the future, scientists expect to keep increasing the benefits of ultrasound technology in the medical fields and in research. Ultrasound technology makes a lot of diagnostic tests to be conducted safely and without as many adverse effects as with other forms of testing.






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