Ultrasound has been utilized in medicine since the 1950’s with the range of applications for this modality significantly expanding as improved image quality, faster data processing and system miniaturization have been utilized. The evolution of ultrasound imaging and the introduction of other imaging technologies have, however, not addressed the imaging requirements of the surface of the body, despite this region being the subject of many diseases, injuries and procedures that cost $55 billion in the USA alone each year. For the skin and immediately underlying soft tissue a combination of very high resolution imaging and the ability to see subtle changes in soft tissue characteristics is required. Systems addressing this need also have to be affordable to the clinical groupings associated with dermatology, wound care, aesthetics, etc. and be user friendly.
The EPISCAN System
Longport has developed an ultrasound imaging technology to addresses these requirements: the EPISCAN I-200.
This EPISCAN utilizes broadband ultrasound at frequencies from 20 to 50MHz to image the skin and underlying soft tissue. The system is primarily digital in design, enabling flexible and cost effective data processing and presentation. The ultrasound data is digitalized in real time at rates up to 200MSPS (200 million samples per second) allowing the capture of the maximum amount of information. A series of interchangeable probes provide the user with a range of imaging options. These probes provide the user with a range of imaging depths and resolutions.
Longport's software operates under a Windows environment providing the user with a comprehensive, but user friendly interface.
EPISCAN Screen showing two images of skin lesions
Features of the EPISCAN's software include:
- Multiple images can be tiled on the scanner screen allowing the progression of conditions or different scan sites to be readily compared;
- Measurements, including linear and area measurements can be performed and stored onto images.
- Image assessment techniques such as pixel intensity distribution can be undertake;
- A-Scans can be viewed and exported;
- A range of palettes - grey scale and color can be applied to the images;
- An integrated relational database enables images and other data, including digital photographs, to be stored and retrieved in a patient-orientated manner;
- When scanning, the images are retained in "memory loop" enabling the user to review a series of images at the conclusion of the scanning process and to select what images should be stored.
The probe is the principle component of the scanner as it both produces and receives the sound waves. Ultrasound probes come in a variety of frequencies which is measured in megahertz (MHz). The higher the frequency, the higher the image resolution is achieved. However, the higher the frequency the less penetration of tissue is achieved. The ideal situation therefore is to use the highest frequency possible to achieve penetration to the area of interest. Typical diagnostic ultrasound for fetal imaging is around 3.5 to 7 MHz, while the EPISCAN uses probes in the range 20 to 50MHz.
This high frequency ultrasound used and resultant high resolution images enables Longport to designate the EPISCAN as a high resolution ultrasound system or HRUS, thus enabling the detail imaging of the layers of the skin and subcutaneous tissue, as shown on the right.
The processed images are displayed onto the EPISCAN's monitor. Different palettes can be used to maximize the information on the screen. Once displayed, items of interest can be labeled and measured and the image stored for future reference.
The EPISCAN can be connected to a network via cable or wireless means enabling data captured to be backed-up or shared with other clinicians within the facility or remotely. Thus the EPISCAN is compatible with telemedicine use including DICOM configured systems. A DVD ROM also enables data to be backed-up or transferred as does access to USB ports.
The EPISCAN can be readily taken to the patient's bedside via an optional cart. An optional medical grade UPS enables the system to remain powered up when being transferred between patients beds, thus optimizing system utilization.
A full system specification is available from the downloads section of this website.