Siemens introduces new premium-class ultrasound scanner

January 3, 2008

Siemens Medical Solutions’ new S-2000 scanner, introduced at the RSNA meeting, is a new breed of ultrasound system and the first in the company’s newly minted “S” or “superior” class of scanners.

Siemens Medical Solutions' new S-2000 scanner, introduced at the RSNA meeting, is a new breed of ultrasound system and the first in the company's newly minted "S" or "superior" class of scanners.

Scheduled to begin shipping in March, the FDA-cleared S-2000 does not replace the Sequoia, Siemens' current flagship, but complements it with premium performance based on a new platform. Its positioning in the Siemens portfolio represents an effort to support the 10,000-plus Sequoia users, while offering a new high-end platform for future development.

"Sequoia has had eight years and 12 releases, whereas the S-2000 is in its first release," said Andrew Hartmann, vice president of global sales and marketing for Siemens. "Some customers will want to migrate to the S-2000 and others will continue with Sequoia for a number of years."

The S-2000 combines best-of-breed technologies from Sequoia and other high-performance products in the Siemens portfolio, while providing the framework for future development. Continuing a trend at Siemens toward automation, the S-2000 minimizes key strokes by making routine measurements (for example, of the femur or head circumference) as it optimizes image quality. Transducer connectors and user interface, proven on Sequoia, are built into the S-2000.

Differentiating the S-2000, however, is an architecture designed to support certain leading edge R&D. One is silicon-based transducer technology. Today's transducers have hundreds, even up to a thousand elements. The ones envisioned in the future for the S-2000 will have tens of thousands, Hartmann said.

"The holy grail for ultrasound is isotropic volume imaging," he said. "That will be exclusive to the S-class, something our customers will see, if they make a platform change."

The S-2000 architecture is designed also to support elastography, or acoustic radiation forced impulse as Siemens calls it. The company is framing this capability as the biggest change in the industry since Doppler imaging. Yet to be cleared by the FDA, the elastographic feature uses varying acoustic energies to assess tissue stiffness and may help evaluate such abnormalities as liver tumors or fibrosis. The new premium system will also be able to handle Siemens' pending Automated Breast Scanning, a technique that provides automated, reproducible 3D ultrasound of the breast.

In the future, Siemens plans to populate the S class with other scanners, as the company gravitates toward a portfolio composed of the premium S, midtier X (excellence), and P (portable) classes. Over time the company will migrate premium technologies into the other classes to perform specific clinical applications.