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Improve Your Images: The 3 Things you can Do Right Now!

Improve your images and learn key ultrasound controls
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Looking to improve your images? Feel you don’t know where to start? When faced with a new piece of technology or revisiting it after a few weeks, it’s easy to feel panicked looking at a whole host of complicated looking buttons and knobs. We procrastinate. We lose confidence- will I ever learn how to use this thing?

Luckily, whether you’re a seasoned pro dusting off your skills after a hiatus or brand new to the world of scanning, there’s 3 things you can do to instantly improve your images and make life easier!

1- Frequency: improve your image’s definition

Altering your frequency according to the size of animal you are scanning makes a huge difference. On medium to small animals, the frequency will need to be in the higher end of the spectrum. On larger animals the frequency should be lower. Essentially, higher frequencies achieve better image quality, but lower frequencies will penetrate deeper. Imagine: if you are scanning a goat or a golden retriever’s abdomen, the frequency will need to be lower so that the ultrasonic pulses can “reach in” further in comparison to a spaniel or a cat, where the organs are closer to the probe so the frequency should be higher to achieve better definition. If you have this in mind before you start your scan, you will automatically know which end of the frequency scale you will need your settings at.

2- Gain- improve your image’s readability

Just like you would alter the brightness or darkness on a photo to make the image clearer to see the details, you can use your Gain control to improve the readability of your scan. Ideally, bone and gas should appear white and fluid should appear black, with everything else a shade of grey. One of the most commonly flagged issues we get from new/less experienced scanners is that the images they are seeing are “milky” or “washed out”, making it hard to see detail. It’s assumed that there is a problem with the probe/machine, but every single time, it’s simply a case of adjusting the Gain control to make the image darker. Play around with this setting and watch your images transform!

3- Depth: improve your image’s screen size

Again, just like you would zoom in to a picture to make an object larger and easier to see, your Depth control allows you to fill your screen view with an object of interest. It’s helpful to use this control to better see an individual gestation sac for example, and it can be equally helpful to then zoom out again so that you can have multiple gestation sacs and organs in view to help you orientate where you are in the abdomen. This is a control you will likely want to keep on adjusting throughout your exam so it’s a good one to locate on your machine and experiment with early on. 

These are all standard controls you can find on any of the machines at PUM and beyond. However, our most important piece of advice? Practise! You don’t need a pregnant animal to start scanning and become proficient with your machine; all you need is the courage to try and a relaxed animal to put your probe onto so that you can learn key anatomical landmarks and play with the controls to improve your images. It really is as simple as 1-2-3!

Tried these three things and still have problems or need some assistance? Contact us today for free advice.


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