Bruel & Kjaer, a leading supplier of urological ultrasoundsystems, is readying an entry into the high-end radiology market.The Danish firm applied for Food and Drug Administration approvalof its model 3535 scanner in the fall and expects to start
Bruel & Kjaer, a leading supplier of urological ultrasoundsystems, is readying an entry into the high-end radiology market.The Danish firm applied for Food and Drug Administration approvalof its model 3535 scanner in the fall and expects to start upsales this summer, said Ralph Winters, radiology marketing managerfor B&K's U.S. subsidiary. The scanner will have a simultaneousrelease in international markets, he said.
The 3535, while possessing a full array of gray-scale, Dopplerand color-flow capabilities, is a compact unit weighing less than300 lbs. It has been under development since 1984. Leveragingits experience in international markets where doctors seek moreuser-friendly equipment, B&K has built a number of featuresinto the scanner for ease of operation.
"Outside of the U.S., more physicians scan, rather thanemploying a sonographer to scan and then interpreting their films.The equipment requirements and imaging in general are differentfrom when the physician is the primary user of the instrument,"Winters said.
European and Asian physicians demand an instrument that iseasier to use, while users in the U.S. want image quality first,he said.
"We have maintained a high level of image quality andall the other features (of a high-end radiology ultrasound system)but have brought the machine down to half the size," he said.
There is no keyboard or track ball on the 3500. The scanneroperates with a simpler touch-screen system. An infrared remotedevice is used to control the Doppler, color-flow and B scanning.The operator can run the scanner camera and freeze frames directlyfrom the ultrasound probe. When a probe is picked up and pressed,the system recognizes it and initiates scanning, Winters said.
B&K uses surface-mount technology to build its circuitboards, which increases the durability of the system. Becauseof its small size and durability, the 3535 should find applicationsas a mobile ultrasound scanner as well as a fixed hospital-basedunit, he said.
The company has begun hiring sales and applications personnelfor its approach to the U.S. radiology market. B&K, basedin Marlborough, MA, already has an extensive service network inplace for its urology business.
The urology ultrasound market in the U.S. is smaller than thatof radiology but it is experiencing growth as well. Increaseddemand for urological scanners has been spurred by growth in biopsywork, (radiation therapy) seed implantations and colorectal evaluationsusing ultrasound, Winters said.