Instrumentarium rethinks ultrasound relationship

February 27, 1991

A change at the top of Instrumentarium Medical Imaging in Milwaukeehas apparently led to a reevaluation of the company's interestin an ultrasound OEM supply arrangement. The vendor has veeredaway from the potential relationship with Labsonics promoted

A change at the top of Instrumentarium Medical Imaging in Milwaukeehas apparently led to a reevaluation of the company's interestin an ultrasound OEM supply arrangement. The vendor has veeredaway from the potential relationship with Labsonics promoted byformer president Russell Thompson. Thompson left Instrumentariumlast month (SCAN 1/16/91).

The company was expecting to market an inexpensive compactultrasound device made by Labsonics for use in the differentialdiagnosis of breast abnormalities found with mammography. TheLabsonics scanner was to be used to differentiate cysts from potentiallymalignant tumors, Thompson said at the 1990 Radiological Societyof North America meeting in November.

But the executive now overseeing North American operationsat Instrumentarium vetoed the idea three weeks ago. The decisionwas made on the basis of poor results from clinical trials withthe $20,000 ultrasound device, according to Ed Barker, Instrumentariumvice president and general manager.

"We haven't absolutely ruled out ultrasound, but we haven'truled it in, either. We certainly have ruled out Labsonics,"said Barker, who reports to Folke Lindberg, general manager ofimaging at Instrumentarium world headquarters in Helsinki.

Instrumentarium is talking with three other ultrasound companiesabout the supply of scanners. "We hope to be able to comeinto the marketplace with an ultrasound offering," Barkersaid.

It is generally accepted that the ultrasound signal can beused to distinguish between a cyst and a solid tumor. Having anultrasound device readily available to the mammographer benefitsthe patient, since a quick, definitive ultrasound exam might relieveanxiety over finding an abnormality, without the need for biopsy.Up to 80% of all biopsies reportedly are performed on cysts.