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4 Signs Your Ultrasound Probe Needs Repairs

Your ultrasound equipment undergoes frequent use unless you work at a slow practice. Sonographers average 8 to 10 patients per day, which averages to 40 or 50 case studies during a 5-day workweek. Approximately 4 out of 10 women experience more than a 5-day due date change after undergoing an ultrasound during pregnancy. Ultrasounds reveal the gender of unborn babies, but they also capture evidence of serious medical issues that affect a mother or her baby. 

Between how often it is used and the important roles for this equipment, it's not surprising that you may eventually need medical equipment repair services for your ultrasound probe. Watch out for these common signs of potential issues so you can address probe problems before they get worse.

Abnormal Noise

When you perform ultrasounds, you may notice some beeping or humming. This is probably normal if you have heard these sounds since the day you purchased the ultrasound probe. However, some noise requires a diagnosis from a medical equipment repair technician.

Here are some clues that the sounds you hear from your ultrasound probe aren't normal:

  • The sounds only occur when you use a particular computer or cable.
  • The sounds did not begin until you dropped the ultrasound probe.
  • The sounds have gradually become louder over time.
  • The sounds are new, and they are accompanied by image distortion.

You can try to fix the problem on your own by disconnecting wires or trying a new computer, but you should still talk to a medical equipment maintenance company if nobody has inspected your ultrasound probe in a while. Regular maintenance often prevents minor issues from escalating into costly concerns.

Light or Dark Patches

Are your once-clear ultrasound images surrounded by unexplained patches of light or deep shadows? This can make it difficult to analyze images, which may result in inaccurate results for patients.

Sometimes image patches are caused by a damaged cable. This is a quick fix that doesn't require equipment replacement or extensive repairs, and you can try it on your own before calling a technician. If replacing the cable doesn't fix the issue, contact a medical equipment repair expert. You may have a damaged acoustic array transducer or some general system issues. Both of these problems are difficult to diagnose and address without professional assistance.

Blank Lines

When piezoelectric crystals stop communicating correctly, you may notice blank lines, commonly called "dropout," on your ultrasound images. Lines on the sides of images are not an emergency, but the issue still requires attention. If the lines extend directly through your images, they can affect readings. This is serious because patients need accurate readings during an ultrasound.

Dropout hasn't progressed very far if your blank lines are thin and difficult to see. Thick, bold lines indicate that your elements possibly need immediate replacement.

Cable Damage

Ultrasound probes have durable cables, but over time, you may notice indentations or worn-away patches. This happens when a cable is dropped repeatedly or run over with wheeled chairs or medical machines.

Damaged cables don't always impact the quality of ultrasound images, but they carry the risk of electrical shock. This can happen to patients, ultrasound technicians, or anyone who touches the equipment. Electrocution can leave you unconscious, damage your nerves, or result in death. If you notice major damage on a cable, especially if you can see its interior wires, discontinue use immediately.

When ultrasound probes work correctly, they deliver impressive results. Working with outdated equipment puts your patients and their babies at risk, so contact a medical equipment company like Ultimate Biomedical Solutions if you think your ultrasound probe needs maintenance or repairs.