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settings on ultrasound machines

The place to post that topic that doesn't fit anywhere else!

Moderator: Jos

settings on ultrasound machines

Postby katehanson » Mon Jan 27, 2014 1:07 am

I want to tell you I love the pictures that you posted using the color Doppler ultrasound. What a wonderful machine with such clear pictures. I will certainly be referring to them and studying them for this and several breeding seasons to come.

I was wondering if you would maybe share some suggestions on setting on the ultrasound for clearer pictures ( I know correct pressure and angle is important). I know the pictures you shared are from a much better machine than I have and I know all the machines are different. But what frequency level and depth do you feel work best for say between 16 and 21 day pregnancies and maybe a bit later such as 60 day. I have a few books on equine ultrasound. My favorite for reference is one that shows the depth and frequency level that each photo was taken at. Would it be possible for you to do a thread on this?
Thank you,
Kate
katehanson
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Re: settings on ultrasound machines

Postby Jos » Mon Jan 27, 2014 9:59 am

The rule of thumb on frequency is lower = deeper; higher = clearer. So if one were using a 3½ MHz transducer, one would expect to get readings from a greater depth, but less clarity; but if using a 7½ MHz transducer, greater clarity in the image, but less available depth penetration. So if one were for example looking at the ovary, as one has the transducer almost on top of it - just a minor layer of rectal tissue between the ovary and the TD - one might want to use a higher frequency to get better clarity of image. If one were doing a trans-abdominal ultrasound though (i.e. not in the rectum but on the belly), as one would want a lower frequency, as greater depth of penetration would be required, one would not expect the clarity of image seen with the 7½ MHz frequency. In the earlier days of equine reproductive ultrasonography for rectal work, 3½ - 5 MHz was commonly used. Today, 7½ or greater is likely the most common setting, and the images available show that (they're better), plus of course many of today's ultrasound units are digital instead of the old analog models, so that significantly aids clarity of image.

Another setting that may be of value to play with - particularly on the cheaper machines - is the focus. You may have the ability to change the focal point (not all have this and it may be missing from really cheap models). If you look on the right of the actual portion of those images in our ultrasound article, you will see the white marks, which represent the scale (1 cm apart), but you will also see a couple of little red arrows. Those show what point the ultrasound is focused at - you will see that we tend to lower it as we get further along in the pregnancy, as the conceptus tends to become deeper (we don't with all of them because sometimes we forgot, and with that unit, the image is so good that in that comparatively shallow depth, it doesn't make a huge difference! :) ).

Another setting to be concerned about is "gain". Pretty much all u/s machines will have a gain knob. This can be adjusted to vary the amount of signal that the unit captures. Remember that an u/s machine works by bouncing an u/s wave down onto an object and "harvesting" the reflection of the wave that bounces back. The more solid an object, the more that bounces back, and the more white that portion of the image will show. Increasing the "gain" increases the amount of recaptured image, which can increase the ability to see something - BUT! - it will also increase the captured amount of "noise" - everything that surrounds what you are wanting to look at, so if you turn the gain up too much, you'll just end up with a lot of white screen. Think of the "gain" as the size of the mesh in a fishing net - the smaller the mesh (higher the gain) the more that you will catch, but you'll be getting bits of seaweed and other detritus along with the fish.

Finally, another common control is the "contrast". This is the same as on a TV or a computer, and if you do Photoshop editing of images, you'll already be very familiar with the concept. It's the degree of difference in the colours, or in the case of a greyscale u/s between the black and white and grey. It can be adjusted for best image quality as well.

As a final point, the settings will mean little if you're not getting an adequate quality of returned signal, so it's essential that good contact with the nearest structures (the rectum) is made, and that you use lots of lubricant on your transducer to make that connection. Air does not conduct u/s waves well, so not having good contact, but having a layer of air in between the transducer and the tissue will reduce the clarity and quality of the returned image.

I hope this helps! If you're still having troubles, and are interested, we do offer an ultrasounding course here at the facility... :)
We're always happy to try and help, but don't forget to check the articles section
of the website too, which has a search engine to help you look for answers!
:)
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Jos
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Re: settings on ultrasound machines

Postby katehanson » Thu Jan 30, 2014 1:12 am

Thank You!
Yes, that did help very much. My machine is in the middle and does a clear picture. I think it is mostly operator error. But I'm getting better. I have watched several videos, read books and looked on the computer. I've only found one site that really talks about the settings.
I did check into your class and will, in time have the time to come down and take a class. My biggest problem is time as we start feeding cows, which would be a good time...except we are feeding cows, then there is calving, which could be a good time...except my husband hates blood and if we have to pull a calf (which he has helped with all his life) he is stuck alone with his head turned to the side, pulling and not watching, Then there's foaling season and then summer hits and it's time to work!
You taught a collection and shipping semen class in San Diego held at the place I was working years ago and I was lucky enough to attend. Since my daughter helped me collect sometimes, Linda also had her attend. We both learned so much and were so pleased with the way you taught, you were actually the first people I thought about for classes when I started working with frozen semen and doing my own ultrasounding. I still have the manual that you used at the time. The class was mainly on cooled semen which was what we were using at the time. Now we breed using frozen. Our daughter has the Stallion in Nebraska and we are in Montana. I had a lot of preconceived notions about breeding with frozen semen, but now feel it is probably the handiest way to be able to breed to a good stallion with very little hassle; and your site has taught me much of what I needed to get through it.
Take care and I will see you in the future for some help on ultrasounding!
katehanson
Nursing Foal
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2012 11:20 pm

Re: settings on ultrasound machines

Postby Jos » Thu Jan 30, 2014 9:51 am

Glad we've been of help along the way!!

Good luck! :)
We're always happy to try and help, but don't forget to check the articles section
of the website too, which has a search engine to help you look for answers!
:)
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Jos
Senior Stallion or Mare
 
Posts: 3948
Joined: Sun Jun 10, 2012 12:11 am


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