There are an overwhelming number of transducer (probe) options on the market these days, marketed for different species and applications. What do you need to consider when selecting one? Whether you are shopping for a new system or transducer, or simply deciding which of your current probes to use for a specific purpose, here are a few tips to keep in mind.
You’ve probably noticed that the transducers, or probes, on your ultrasound system are named or marked with a number followed by ”MHz”, most likely in the 1-20 range. Often this is how a company advertises their products – for example, a 7MHz linear rectal transducer. Perhaps you’ve wondered what this number refers to or the significance of having a higher or lower number on your probe.
If you’re new to ultrasound, an image may look like nothing more than a swirling array of grey tones on the screen. Interpretation requires an understanding of anatomy and physiology, but also of how ultrasound technology functions.
Consider the sonar produced by a bat in flight. The bat emits high frequency sounds, which then bounce off of objects in its proximity and return to the bat. The animal uses the strength, direction, and timing of the returning sound to determine where those objects are and to avoid a collision.