Ultrasonic imaging is likely to replace endoscopy in the times to follow. A quantum leap in ultrasound technology may enable development of novel medical imaging methods for. Currently, healthcare providers rely on endoscopy to diagnose lungs, throat, colon, or intestines conditions. Further, endoscopes are thin tubes with a thin camera. The bright light of these tubes allows the camera to capture sequences of internal body parts.
Limitations of Endoscopic Procedures
Endoscopy is an invasive procedure that involves substantial risk. Furthermore, patients have to bear extreme discomfort or even mild pain during endoscopy. Hence, the need for a safer and non-invasive alternative is imperative. Incisions made for endoscopic procedures may result in unwarranted stress to the patients. Further, side effects of endoscopy also necessitate development of alternative technologies. Some of the common side effects include cramps, persistent pain, over-sedation, and internal bleeding.
Proposed Alternative to Endoscopy
Two professors at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh propose a sound alternative to endoscopy. They developed an ultrasound-based non-invasive imaging technique that may replace endoscopy. Further, Light: Science and Applications journal published the details of the newly-developed technique.
The professors explained that the density of the biological tissues restricts the penetration of optical signals. As a result, it is difficult to achieve depth of optical imagery due to large tissue membranes. Hence, the new technique uses ultrasonic signals instead of optical or infrared signals. This could facilitate penetration of a ‘virtual lens’ into the body, thus, eliminating the need for a physical lens. The ultrasonic waves can be adjusted for pressure while they’re inside the body.
Ultrasound waves can penetrate into thick and compressed medium. Since light travels relatively slower in such media, it is easier to get images of the internal body. The research has emerged as a sound development in the domain of ultrasound technologies.