Your child’s first experience with ultrasound probably occurred before they were even born! Most pregnancies today have at least one ultrasound to monitor fetal health. Ultrasound is the type of imaging used most often in pregnant women and in children because it is safe (there is no exposure to radiation), painless, portable, and easily adapts to a wide variety of medical needs. The ultrasound technologists who perform the scans at Cincinnati Children’s are some of the most qualified and experienced in the country. In fact, at Cincinnati Children’s we help train technologists from three different local schools. Our ultrasound technologists contribute images and questions for the national board exams that certify ARDMS (American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographer) competency. The radiologists performing and interpreting ultrasound at Cincinnati Children’s are also leaders in the field; they are recognized internationally while working locally, right here in Cincinnati. Cincinnati Children’s performs over 30,000 ultrasound exams each year in our American College of Radiology-accredited department.
It is not surprising that with this level of expertise in ultrasound, many vendors of ultrasound machines and software are interested in having new technologies “road tested” here at Cincinnati Children’s. Over the years, the ultrasound department has trialed emerging technologies that are now significant components of routine ultrasound exams. These relationships with vendors are beneficial to all those involved, including the patients being imaged. Many of these new technologies have the potential to provide greater anatomic detail, eliminate the need for additional imaging, decrease biopsy rates, and shorten exam time.
Don’t be surprised if you see two different ultrasound machines in the exam room when your child has a scan here. We are always comparing the latest advances. If we ask to scan you or your child with a second machine, please consider saying agreeing. We are always happy to show you what we are looking for and what the new technology is capable of doing. Image: A
Past experiences with vendors helped to develop extended field of view imaging (A) which allows us to take a “panoramic” image of long structures, like this infant spine, to best demonstrate where the spinal cord tapers in relation to the coccyx or tail bone. Another new technology called shear wave imaging (B) is being used to look at tissue stiffness or elasticity to help characterize inflammation, fibrosis, and tumor types. This technology has been widely accepted and already helps decrease biopsy rates in many diseases. Doppler techniques are always evolving and are now able to create 3D models of vessels (C) that help surgeons plan their safest operative approach.
Contributed by Dr. Sara O’Hara and edited by Glenn Miñano, BFA.