Fig. 25: The Components of an Ultrasound Machine
The parts of an ultrasound machine
Central Processing Unit (CPU)
The CPU is the hub of an ultrasound machine. The CPU is like a computer that contains the microprocessor, memory, amplifiers and power supplies for the microprocessor and transducer probe. The transducer receives electrical currents from the CPU and sends electrical pulses that are created by returning echoes. The CPU does all of the calculations to produce an image on the monitor, and also stores the processed information on a disk.
Transducer Pulse Controls
The operator, called the ultrasonographer, uses the transducer pulse controls to set and change the frequency and duration of the ultrasound pulses. The transducer pulse controls also allow for scanning the mode of the machine. Commands from the operator are changed into fluctuating electrical currents that are applied to the piezoelectric (PZ) crystals in the transducer probe.
The display turns processed data from the CPU into an image. This image can be either in black-and-white or color, depending upon the model of the ultrasound machine.
Ultrasound machines have a keyboard and a cursor. The keyboard allows the operator to add notes and to take measurements of the image.
The processed data and/or images can be stored on disks. These disks can be hard disks, floppy disks, compact disks (CDs), or digital video disks (DVDs). Most of the time, ultrasound scans are filled on floppy disks and stored with the patient's medical records.
Most ultrasound machines have printers which are thermal. These can be used to capture a printed picture of the image from the monitor.