Whiteboard Wednesday: Benefits Of Using Ultrasound Gels And Warmers

Ultrasound gel and warmers are essential tools found in many hospitals, clinics and doctors offices today. Today on Whiteboard Wednesday we talk about the benefits of using ultrasound gel and warmers.

What’s The Difference Between Ultrasound Gel And Ultrasound Lotion?

Ultrasound-based diagnostic imaging or ultrasonography uses high-frequency sound waves to visualize soft tissues such as muscles and internal organs. Obstetric sonography is the practice of examining pregnant women using ultrasound and is widely used. Sonograms or ultrasound images are made by sending a pulse of an ultrasound into tissue using an ultrasound transducer or probe. As the sound reflects off various parts of  body structures the echo is recorded by the computer and displayed as an image on the monitor for the operator.

Ultrasound Technology

Ultrasound technology is used to create various types of images. Perhaps the most common type of ultrasound image, is the B-mode image or the 2-D cross-section of the tissue being imaged. Creating an image from a sound wave requires three steps, producing the sound wave, receiving the echoes, and forming the image. While producing the sound wave, it is important that the transducer is able to efficiently transmit the sound waves into the body to produce a accurate image. The transducer or hand-held probe, frequently has a soft, pliable, rubber coating that is used to guide the instrument across the area of interest, the skin will then be coated with an aqueous gel to effectively transmit the range of ultrasound frequencies being used (typically between 2 to 18 megahertz).

Ultrasound Gel

At the beginning of an ultrasound exam or procedure, an ultrasound gel is placed on the patient’s skin. Ultrasound gel or a coupling agent, utilizes a basic physics principle where sound waves tend to carry very well through an aqueous or watery medium. When applied to the surface of the patient’s skin, the ultrasound gel acts as a coupling medium and enhances the transmission of ultrasonic sound waves from the skins surface to the head of the ultrasound transducer. Ultrasound gel serves as a lubricant and improves the acoustic transmission of sound waves to the create the image for the sonographer to examine on the monitor. Listed in the table below are a sampling of the different types of ultrasound gels and lotions available and their main product features.

Ultrasound Gel & Ultrasound Lotion
Product Name Application Viscosity Clear Available Sizes
Aquasonic 100Diagnostic & Therapeutic High-ViscosityNo20g Foil Pouch, 8.5 ounce bottle, 1 Liter bottle, 5 Liter SONICPAC
Sterile Aquasonic 100Sterile ApplicationsHigh-Viscosity No20g Foil Pouch
Aquasonic ClearDiagnostic & TherapeuticHigh-ViscosityYes8.5 ounce, 1 Liter bottle, 5Liter SONICPAC
SCAN Ultrasound GelWhen a less viscous gel desiredUnique Dual-ViscosityNo8 ounce, 1 US Gallon
Polysonic Ultrasound LotionWhen lotion is preferred High-ViscosityNo1 US Gallon

Therapeutic Ultrasound 

Ultrasounds can also be used for therapeutic treatment, which refers to any ultrasonic procedure that uses ultrasounds for a therapeutic benefit. A therapeutic ultrasound is a technique that uses sound waves to stimulate tissue under the skin’s surface. These ultrasound techniques can include physical therapy, pain management and a variety of other treatments used in rehabilitation centers. Depending on the type of treatment, the ultrasound stimulates the patient’s subcutaneous tissue using high-frequency sound waves. Therapeutic ultrasounds can create heating effects, increase tissue relaxation, increase blood flow to reduce swelling and inflammation and breakdown scar tissue. Therapeutic ultrasound treatments include a variety of pain management therapies such as chronic pain, muscle strain, muscle tension, tendon injuries, and many more.

Ultrasound Lotion

At the beginning of a therapeutic ultrasound treatment, ultrasound lotion is applied to the area of the patient’s body that is being treated. The probe from the ultrasound machine will then circulate the ultrasound lotion against the area of the patient. Similar to how ultrasound gel in diagnostic imaging is important, ultrasound lotion for therapeutic ultrasound treatments is equally as important. Ultrasound lotion is easily absorbed by the skin while ultrasound gel has is water soluble and is removed after the exam or procedure. Ultrasound lotion is often preferred by medical staff and patients for therapeutic ultrasound treatments due to the rich, moisturizing formula. The ultrasound lotion is acoustically correct for a broad range of frequency transducers and is hypoallergenic and bacteriostatic.

Weekly Wrap For December 2 – December 6, 2013

Proper Handwashing Techniques & Tips

Proper handwashing is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to other people. The first full week in December is National Handwashing Awareness Week. To help celebrate and help raise awareness of the importance of handwashing we will share some helpful tips and techniques to stay healthy. What is the right way to wash your hands? 

Benchmark Scientific – Mortexer Vortex Mixer With Multi-Head

This week [December 2, 2013 through December 6, 2013] we are offering a special Buy One, Get One Free“ promotion on our Mortexer™ Vortex Mixer with Multi-Head™ from Benchmark Scientific. When you buy one Mortexer™ Vortex Mixer [BV1005] at the regular price you will receive your second one free. The free unit will automatically be added to your cart with purchase.

What Are The Parts Of A Lead Eyeglass Frame?

Why are lead eyeglasses important? The risk for radiation induced eye injuries are particularly high for health professionals such as interventional cardiologists, interventional radiologists, doctors using fluoroscopy in operating theaters and paramedical personnel who remain close to the patient during the procedure.

Whiteboard Wednesday: What You Should Do After Using PPE Supplies

Today on Whiteboard Wednesday we discuss proper ways to dispose your PPE (personal protection equipment) supplies after use. Properly disposing your PPE supplies in your medical facility is very important for reducing the spread of infection. Be sure to watch our Whiteboard Wednesday video below!

The Different Types of Ultrasound Scans

There are several different types of ultrasound scans depending on the part of the body being examined. There are external, internal and endoscopic ultrasound scans. An external ultrasound involves the use of a an ultrasonic sensor also known as a transducer or transceiver which is placed on the patients skin and is moved over the body part being examined. An ultrasound gel is applied to the skin to improve the movement of the transducer and ensure continuous contact between the skin and the transducer. 

The Increasing Importance Of Ultrasound In Medicine

While most probably equate an ultrasound guided procedure with a common diagnostic exam done during pregnancy, hospitals, clinics and physicians are using ultrasound in many more ways. Ultrasound has proven to be an effective diagnostic tool for a variety of medical conditions, and it has increased in importance during the past fifty years.

Ultrasound, which is also commonly referred to as a sonogram, works by using sound waves at higher frequencies than the human ear can hear for the purpose of stimulating the tissues in the body. This stimulation gives the technician the ability to view and monitor images such as the flow of blood and the movement of the body’s internal organs. These images are presented in real-time on a screen. In recent years, the images ultrasound has been able to present have increased in quality. Only twenty years ago, the images were one-dimensional, and difficult to decipher for the untrained eye. However, recent developments in technology have resulted in better-quality pictures, including 3-D images, giving physicians even better diagnostic ability.

Because ultrasound uses non-ionizing radiation, physicians consider it to be minimally-invasive and safe in most cases. In addition to being used during pregnancy to ensure a healthy baby and check for any other abnormalities, ultrasound has proven to be a valuable diagnostic tool in procedures like breast biopsies, liver biopsies and a host of others. It’s also commonly used to view potentially cancerous tumors in the body. In the past, physicians would use surgically-invasive procedures to perform such biopsies. In order to avoid the risk that accompanies any type of surgery, physicians began utilizing ultrasound and found it to be very useful.

Ultrasound is also less expensive than performing a lengthy surgical procedure. Its portability is an added feature; one that has made it a standard piece of equipment utilized by emergency personnel all over the country. EMT response teams are able to make quick use of ultrasound when administering first aid to provide additional information to the hospital before the patient even arrives.

Ultrasound gel is a vital part of the ultrasound guided procedure. It is the conductive medium which is placed on the patient’s skin or on the transducer right before the exam. Not only does ultrasound gel help guide the transducer during the procedure, it also improves the quality of the images the technician is able to see on the screen. Because these images play such a crucial role in helping physicians to make accurate diagnoses, ultrasound gel is necessary wherever ultrasound is performed.

Ultrasound gels such as our Aquasonic Ultrasound Gel provide technicians and physicians with the best possible results during any ultrasound guided procedure. Aquasonic Ultrasound Gel is non-staining, hypoallergenic, and completely safe for all types of transducers. This particular gel is high-quality, with an acoustically-correct formula that works well with the large range of frequencies used in many different types of ultrasounds.

One of the most common complaints from patients who have an ultrasound is the coldness of the gel. For this reason, many physicians prefer the use of gel warmers such as our Thermasonic Gel Warmers. These warmer come in two different sizes, allowing technicians to keep more than one bottle of gel warm at a time.

The importance of ultrasound is increasing. With continuous advances in technology, there’s no doubt there will be even more uses for it in the future. Having the proper equipment on hand is vital to ensure that every patient receives the most accurate diagnosis possible. If you have any questions or comments, please share your thoughts below!