Ultrasound transducers are an integral part of any care plan across a wide field of medical specialties. A highly specialized piece of equipment, the ultrasound probe also has daily contact with patients. Heavy use can take its toll on ultrasound transducers, resulting in problems ranging from everyday wear and tear to complete equipment dysfunction.
Common Problems With Ultrasound Transducers
For various reasons, the imaging capabilities of an ultrasound transducer can be disrupted, causing what is commonly known as image dropout. Image dropout will cause black lines on the ultrasound reading in cases of minor damage. If the problem is severe enough, image dropout can block out a large section of the ultrasound image, hindering the efficacy of the transducer.
Damage to cable or strain relief
Over time, a crack or separation can form where the cable and probe meet. This can result in connectivity issues, damage to the internal wiring or a complete loss of ultrasound imaging capabilities.
Damage to the transducer membrane
Extended use of any ultrasound transducer can result in wear and tear to the ultrasound membrane. Membrane damage ranges from worn areas to cracks and holes, causing image dropout. While some of these equipment failures are unavoidable with regular use of the average ultrasound transducer, doctors can extend the life of their ultrasound probes by following some basic upkeep guidelines.
Easy Ultrasound Transducer Maintenance Tips — Damage Prevention
If possible, use the box/case/foam from the manufacturer to protect the ultrasound probe during the shipping process.
Do not store in clamp control housing, which puts unneeded stress on the cord and strain relief. Instead, keep unused ultrasound probes in a cool, dry place — ideally in a case or box.
Check the ultrasound transducer before each use to make sure all elements are properly functioning.
Before submerging the probe, make sure the strain relief and cord are undamaged. Don’t leave the ultrasound probe in contact with cleaning solutions for extended periods.