Technology has evolved very quickly in the past few years. Today, people no longer have to bear with long and painful techniques to accurately diagnosis underlying conditions and diseases. Ultrasound machines have shown to be quite effective and useful in several medical and non-medical cases, both minor and major. Learning more about the history of the devices will help you understand clearly how they truly work and function.
The Early Days
Ultrasound machine applications in the medical setting should have begun when people started measuring distance using sound waves underwater. SONAR actually means Sound Navigation and Ranging. Medical Sonars are also regarded as ultrasound scanners. In 1826, Dr. Jean-Daniel Colladon from Switzerland succeeded in using a bell underwater to know the speed of sound in Lake Geneva.
During the later 1800s, physicists started identifying the fundamental physics of sound waves, refraction, propagation and transmission. Lord Rayleigh from England, published “The Theory of Sound” in 1877. Lazzaro Spallanzani from Italy can be credited for discovering ultrasound in 1794 when he showed how bats can accurately navigate in the dark using echo reflection from inaudible sound in high frequency. Francis Galton created very high frequency sound vibrations in 1876, which was inaudible to human ears, through the Galton Whistle.
In 1880, Pierre Curie and Jacques Curie from France discovered the piezo-electric effect. Ultrasound was then found to be possibly generated and received in megahertz. Sonar detection systems were first created for underwater explorations and navigation. The invention of the Diode and Triode in the 1900s also boosted developments in ultrasound. Paul Langevin and Constantin Chilowsky from France developed strong high frequency echo-sound devices that produced ultrasound. The hydrophone was born, using the tranducer using quartz crystal discovered by the Curie brothers.
Dr. Ian Donald
Dr. Ian Donald suggested that sonar can be used in conjunction with medical diagnosis. The practice begun after ultrasound was used limitedly after World War II. On July 21, 1955, he started working on experiments involving the industrial ultrasonic metal flaw detector. Ultrasound was then found to be quite useful in detecting and differentiating fibroids, abdominal tumors and cysts.
Dr. Karl Theodore Dussik from Austria investigated transmission ultrasound in the brain in 1942 and published several items on medical ultrasonics. Dr. Ian Donald and other colleagues from Glasgow can be credited as doing a lot in the development of applications and practical technology. Their works have led to the wider use of the technology in present medical practice. More commercial systems were made available such as greyscale and bistable images. Doppler ultrasound was also developed by combining Duplex scanning and Color scanning. Today, even blood flow through the vessels of the body can be seen. 3D and 4D imaging are now available, led by the creation of the microchip in the 1970s.
There are several types of ultrasound available at present, each used depending on the current condition of the patient and the body organ that needs to be examined. All these are relatively safe, convenient and affordable to use. These also offer little to zero risk and do not require any preparations from patients. The procedures are also non-invasive and painless so individuals can immediately resume normal activities after testing.
It is possible that more than one scanning will be required depending on the clarity of images.