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Tips For Creating The Clearest Images With Your Portable Ultrasound Machine

If you have recently started using a portable veterinary ultrasound machine at your practice, you may not quite have the hang of getting the clearest image possible. After all, the images are typically quite a bit smaller. While this is a drawback to portable machines, you can and should save, send, and attach the images to an email so you can look at them later on and also file them. However, you want to get a clear image first, so follow the tips below.

Adjust The Contrast

One of the most important, and simplest, things you can do to adjust the image on your portable ultrasound monitor is to change the contrast. When changing the contrast, you also want to adjust the brightness. However, the contrast should be adjusted first so you can see the basic quality of the image in terms in terms of the grayscale coloration. Contrast recommendations for ultrasound machines are usually on the high range, because high contrast will obviously help in identifying organs, structures, and abnormalities. In most cases, manuals recommend contract between 80% and 100%. If the contrast seems too high, then adjust the brightness to see how the image looks.

Most traditional ultrasound machines should be adjusted in the same type of light that you work in. Light conditions can vary considerably when you are on call, in a barn, or in someone's home. To get the image right for a variety of conditions, you want to adjust brightness when in a low intensity lighting setting. Lights can typically be turned off and the monitor can be shielded, but it is not always easy to add lighting when there is not any available.

You want to adjust monitor brightness under a light bulb with a low wattage. If you have LED lights in the adjustment area, then make sure the light is closer to a 4 to 10 watt variety instead of a 22 watt bulb. A bulb that emits a lower amount of lumens, like in the 450 range is a good choice too. With the right lighting, turn the brightness all the way up and then start to turn it down. You want to look at the grayscale on the side of the monitor as you do this. When the grayscale appears dark on the bottom, stop adjusting the brightness as you notice the bottom bar disappearing and turning completely black.

The brightness should work well, but you can increase and decrease the brightness by about 10% or so depending on the light situation you find yourself in.

Work With The Time Gain Compensation

You likely have a variety of presets that your work with when controlling your traditional ultrasound machine. These presets and the gain knob that allows you to control specific image brightness may be all that you need when it comes to creating good images in your office. However, you may need to go a step further and start working more with time gain compensation. Time gain compensation is when sound waves are released from the sonogram transducer following a specific curve. In certain areas, the waves are deeper, and in others they are a bit more shallow. This creates clearer images that compensate for more dense tissues. 

Most simple ultrasound machines, like portable varieties, have controls with sliders that can be shifted or moved as you take and adjust your images. The sliders move left to right and correspond to the different image fields as you look at the screen. It can be difficult to tell which slider corresponds with each field, so test the sliders when you are making some of your other adjustments, like the brightness and contrast to see where the image changes.

If you are having trouble figuring out the best adjustments to create clear images, then you may want to press the automatic image optimization button. This will "reset" the ultrasound device to the best possible setting for a variety of circumstances. If you need to know more about your new veterinary ultrasound machine click here for more information.