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Principles of physics in Ultrasound

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Principles of physics in Ultrasound Physics has become an important part of medicine allowing specialist doctors and radiographers to rapidly access a patient's condition and to help in long-term diagnosis. This enables doctor's to treat patients before their condition deteriorates. This procedure would not be possible without the use of X-rays, CAT scans, MRI scans, ultrasound and endoscopes, which allow doctors to see inside the body with little or no surgery. Without such equipment doctors would be forced to use invasive techniques, which could cause patients more harm as it increases the risk of infection. A sound or ultrasound wave consists of a mechanical disturbance of a medium (gas, liquid or solid) which passes through the medium at a fixed speed. Sound waves consist of a disturbance of air molecules, the vibrations which pass from molecule to molecules from the speaker to the ear of the listener. The rate at which particles in the medium vibrate in the disturbance is the frequency or pitch of the sound measured in hertz (cycles/sound). As the pitch increases there comes a frequency at about 20kHz when the sound is no longer audible and above the frequency disturbance, this is know as ultrasound. ...read more.


The sound wave, which is able to penetrate bodily fluids, but not solids, bounces off the solid object and returns to the Transducer, this return is an echo. The return of the sound wave to the transducer results in the same process that it took to send the sound wave, just in reverse. The return sound wave vibrates the Transducer and turns that vibration into an electrical pulse that is sent through the probe and into sonographer's computer where it can be interpreted and transformed into a digital image. The computer must determine three things from each electrical impulse received, which wire did the impulse come from. There are multiple receiving wires on a transducer. Also how strong the impulse was, and lastly, how long did it take the impulse to be received from when it was sent. Once the computer determines these three things, it can locate which portion of the monitor to light up. Speed of Ultrasound The speed with which the oscillations can be passed from one atom to its neighbours depends on the stiffness of the medium (i.e. the magnitude of the force between atoms). ...read more.


Instead, high-frequency sound waves are used and the echoes that result as the sound waves reflect off the soft tissue structures in the body form an image. Ultrasound images, displayed on a video monitor, can be used during pregnancy to measure the size of a developing foetus and to detect abnormalities. Ultrasound can also be used to look at other parts of the body to, for example, determine whether a lump is solid or fluid-filled. Ultrasound can be used for many things including finding the thickness of the eye lens, viewing the foetus during pregnancy and blood flow. Ultrasound can be used to monitor growth of a baby during pregnancy and check there are no abnormalities. Also in diagnose abnormalities of the liver, gallbladder, pancreas, thyroid gland, lymph nodes, ovaries, breasts, bladder, prostate, scrotum and kidney, diagnose abnormalities of blood vessels such as aneurysms It can help to look for blockages of blood flow in blood vessels, such as a deep vein thrombosis, abnormalities of the heart valves or other heart structures (this type of examination is called echocardiography) Without the use of physics the medical equipment, such as X-rays, ultrasounds and endoscopes, would not exist. This would cause diagnosis of patients to be a long and complex procedure. This equipment has revolutionised medical practise and will continue doing so for years to come. ...read more.

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