Types of Medical Ultrasound Probes and Methods of Disinfection

The ultrasonic probe is one of the important parts of the ultrasonic diagnostic instrument. It works through the piezoelectric effect, converts the electrical signal of the host into a high-frequency oscillating ultrasonic signal, and then converts the ultrasonic signal reflected by the tissues and organs into an electrical signal to achieve purpose of detection.

The ultrasonic probe is composed of acoustic lens, matching layer, vibration element, transducer, gasket, shell, cable and other components.

Ⅰ. Classification of ultrasound probes

Ultrasound probes are often classified according to their diagnostic locations, beam steering methods, geometric shapes, application methods, and the number of vibrating elements.

①Diagnosis site: ophthalmology, abdomen, brain, heart, uterus, vagina, anus, children, etc.

②Beam control mode: line scan, mechanical fan scan, phased array, square array, etc.

③Geometric shape: rectangle, cylinder, arc (also known as convex), circle, ring ultrasonic probe, etc.

④ Application: in-vitro diagnostic device, in vivo, puncture, etc.

⑤ Number of vibration elements: unit, multi-element.

Ⅱ. Common ultrasonic probes and their scope of application

①Convex array probe: abdomen, thoracic cavity, kidney, stomach, heart, etc.

②Microconvex ultrasound probe: abdomen, kidney, neonatal organs, small animals, etc.

③Linear array probe: chest, blood vessels, thyroid, skin surface, etc.

Ⅲ. How should the ultrasound probe be sterilized?

Medical ultrasonic diagnosis and treatment technology is a widely used, easy-to-operate, low-cost, non-ionizing, non-invasive or low-invasive diagnosis and treatment method. The core component of ultrasonic equipment is the ultrasonic probe. Completely sealed sonic penetration system to complete disease diagnosis.

During the operation, the Chinese ultrasound probe and couplant can directly contact the patient's skin and mucous membranes, and even contact the patient's open wound in emergency or other diagnosis and treatment. The ultrasound probe may have the risk of nosocomial infection transmission.

1. Bacterial contamination

Studies have shown that the abdominal ultrasound probe is the most common site of bacterial colonization. Staphylococcus aureus is seriously contaminated, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Bacillus subtilis, and Candida albicans are all detected. Ultrasound probes in wet hairy areas (armpits, groin, etc.) are more contaminated.

2. Virus contamination

Viral contamination of the vaginal ultrasound probe (human papillomavirus, herpes simplex virus, cytomegalovirus).

3. Disinfection of in vitro ultrasound probe

Extracorporeal ultrasound probes that come into contact with intact skin are considered low risk and should be cleaned or disinfected at a low level. Common ones are non-sterile tissue, alcohol-based wipes, etc.

Alcohol wipes are the most commonly used method of sterilizing extracorporeal ultrasound probes, but some studies have shown that long-term repeated use of alcohol wipes will reduce the clarity of the probe.

In vivo ultrasound probes can come into contact with patient mucous membranes and body fluids and should be disinfected at a high level. Use probe covers to help avoid cross-contamination between patients. Studies have shown that gas plasma is a suitable method for sterilizing high- and medium-risk ultrasound probes.

In conclusion, the first step for disinfection of Chinese ultrasound probes, whether in vitro or in vivo, should be to clean the probe surface couplant to avoid residues.

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