How to Master the Five Key Buttons on Your Veterinary Ultrasound Machine For BeginnersSep 08, 2023
Ultrasound is a powerful diagnostic tool that can help you examine the internal structures of animals. However, learning how to use an ultrasound machine can be daunting, especially if you are not familiar with the different knobs and buttons on your device.
In this blog post, I will show you how to optimise your ultrasound image by using five key buttons: overall gain, time gain compensation, frequency, focal zone, and depth. These buttons are often labelled like that on most machines, but some may hide them under different menus or settings. If you have a manual, you should consult it to find out where these buttons are on your machine. If not, you should experiment with them and see how they affect the image quality.
Overall gain is the button that controls the amplification of returning sound waves across the entire image. It essential makes each pixel on your screen brighter or darker and is usually controlled by a knob which can turn clockwise or counter-clockwise to increase or decrease the gain. The optimal gain level depends on the tissue type and the depth of the structure you are scanning. Generally, you want to adjust the gain until you see a clear contrast between the tissue and the background, without making the image too bright or too dark.
Time Gain Compensation
Time gain compensation (TGC) is the button that controls the amplification of returning sound waves in different sections of the image. It is usually a row of sliders that you can move up or down to increase or decrease the gain for each segment of the image. The TGC allows you to compensate for the attenuation of sound waves as they travel deeper into the tissue. For example, if you are scanning a deep structure, you may need to increase the gain for the lower part of the image to make it more visible.
Frequency is the button that controls the frequency of the sound waves emitted by the probe. It is usually a button that you can press to cycle through different frequency options, such as low, medium, or high or specific MHz. The frequency affects both the resolution and the penetration of the sound waves. Higher frequency sound waves produce higher resolution images, but they also lose more energy as they travel through tissue. Lower frequency sound waves produce lower resolution images, but they also penetrate deeper into tissue. Therefore, you need to choose the appropriate frequency for your scanning objective. For example, if you are scanning a superficial structure, such as a skin lesion, you may want to use a high frequency probe to get a detailed image. If you are scanning a deep structure, such as an abdominal organ, you may want to use a low frequency probe to get a better penetration.
Focal zone is the button that controls the position of the focal point of the sound beam. It is usually a button that you can press to move the focal point up or down along the depth of the image. The focal point is where the sound beam is most narrow and concentrated, and therefore where the image quality is best. You want to align the focal point with the structure of interest to get a sharper and clearer image.
Depth is the button that controls how much of the tissue you can see on the screen. It is usually a knob that you can turn clockwise or counter-clockwise to zoom in or out of the image. The depth affects both the field of view and the resolution of the image. Increasing the depth allows you to see more of the tissue, but it also reduces the resolution and makes the image smaller on the screen. Decreasing the depth allows you to see less of the tissue, but it also increases the resolution and makes the image larger on the screen. Therefore, you need to adjust the depth according to your scanning objective and preference.
These are some of the basic buttons that you need to master when using an ultrasound machine. By adjusting these buttons correctly, you can optimise your ultrasound image and improve your diagnostic accuracy and confidence. Remember that these buttons may vary depending on your machine model and settings, so always refer to your manual or experiment with them before scanning an animal.
I hope this blog post was helpful for you. If you have any questions or feedback, please leave them in the comments section below. Thank you for reading!