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Three- and four-dimensional ultrasound systems have generated stunning pictures, especially of the fetal face, and proffered the tantalizing prospect of offline image reconstruction. Early systems got a lukewarm reception, largely because they lacked wide clinical application, flexibility in image processing, and productivity-conscious tools. But volumetric ultrasound displayed at the RSNA meeting demonstrated the maturation of the technology with new systems for routine general radiology and for imaging complex anatomy and pathology, as well as postprocessing enhancements for presenting and evaluating data in multiple planes and user-friendly, push-button data interrogation.
Three- and four-dimensional ultrasound systems have generated stunning pictures, especially of the fetal face, and they offer the tantalizing prospect of offline image reconstruction. Early systems garnered a lukewarm reception, largely because they lacked wide clinical application, flexibility in image processing, and productivity-conscious tools. But volumetric ultrasound displayed at the RSNA meeting demonstrated the maturation of the technology, with new systems for routine general radiology and for imaging complex anatomy and pathology, as well as postprocessing enhancements for presenting and evaluating data in multiple planes and user-friendly, push-button data interrogation.
A major supplier of medical diagnostic imaging systems, particularly in Europe, Esaote exhibited a fusion software product that correlates and overlaps CT/MR images with ultrasound. A division of the Bracco Group, the Genoa, Italy-based company also displayed a multipurpose portable ultrasound system for standard radiologic imaging. Both products are commercially available in Europe and will be submitted to the FDA for approval in 2005.
GE Healthcare has implemented 4D technology on a radiology platform, focusing as much on productivity as on image quality. The company has also incorporated CrossXBeam spatial compounding in all its ultrasound probes and added a new probe for 4D abdominal imaging.
In addition to its Hi Vision 5500, 6500, and 8500 product lines, Hitachi Medical Systems showed Sono Elastography. A work-in-progress at the 2003 RSNA meeting, Sono Elastography is now available on the premium 8500 Hi Vision unit. It detects differences in elasticity among tissues in real-time on both color and gray-scale images across a variable dynamic range.
A leading supplier of 3D and digital ultrasound systems, Medison released a comprehensive diagnostic ultrasound image processing package on its top-of-the-line ultrasound system. The company also showed its new midlevel, full-featured, color sonographic system.
3D-eXtended Imaging (3D-XI), developed for Medison's flagship Accuvix XQ system, has three major features:
SonoAce 8000 Special Edition offers digital multibeam processing to increase frame rates during color and 2D imaging. It also has an 80-GB hard drive with an optional CD/RW drive, multibeam-receiving color and power Doppler capability, pulsed wave spectral Doppler, and two active probe ports. SonoAce 8000SE includes Freehand 3D for 3D image rendering, DICOM 3.0 compatibility, harmonic imaging, and intuitive controls.
Not keen on holding new product releases for major radiology shows, Philips Medical Systems earlier this year unveiled the iU22 high-end ultrasound system. Unveiled in February and first seen in Europe at the European Congress of Radiology in March, the iU22 was introduced to the U.S. at the RSNA meeting. Philips also displayed the scalable midlevel EnVisor unit and its Explora series of high-performance, high-frequency (up to 17 MHz), ergonomically designed transducers.
Concentrating on tailoring ultrasound image acquisition to individual patients as part of an overall patient-specific imaging concept, Siemens Medical Solutions has rolled out the Encompass release for its top-of-the-line Acuson Sequoia system. On the value side, Siemens has incorporated 4D imaging into affordable Sonoline G60 and G50 systems and added urologic, emergency medicine, and pediatric enhancements to the compact gray-scale Sonoline G20.
A pioneer in the development of compact ultrasound systems, SonoSite enhanced its flagship 7.7-pound Titan system with the version 2.3 upgrade, which includes new transducer technology designed for facilitating interventional procedures, as well as enhanced general-imaging options.
The partnership of Fukuda-Denshi and TeraRecon has brought high-definition digital ultrasound scanning to market. In addition to the portable color Doppler UF-750XT, TeraRecon is offering the new digital cart-based color Doppler UF-850XTD.
The company has enhanced its all-digital high-performance Aplio and compact Nemio lines.
Formed five years ago, Zonare formally launched its Convertible Ultrasound system at the RSNA meeting. The product is based on Zone Sonography technology, which captures echo data from large zones with a broad transit beam. This contrasts with the standard ultrasound method of gathering and processing echo data in narrow lines and forming a small number of beams from each transmission.