Electromagnetic Acoustic Imaging – Next-Generation Ultrasound

Wow! It’s nothing short of revolutionary to combine bioelectromagnetism with acoustics. The result is an ultrasound device that’s safer than a CT and can provide images that approach MRI quality. This isn’t the first time I have written on a form of acoustic imaging, and every time I come back to it, it gets better. Its excellent ability to distinguish between malignant and benign lesions at a fraction of the costs of higher-end systems makes it an exciting topic.

Because dissimilar tissues react differently to outside stimuli, each layer will vibrate at its own unique frequency when stimulated. This can be measured and converted into an image by means of ultrasound detectors. Researchers have used light, ultrasound, and RF energy for stimulating, and the results from RF or microwave energy (electromagnetic) have been very exciting.

Cancerous tissue is 50 times more electrically conductive than normal tissue, and RF energy also has the ability to penetrate much deeper into the body than light. This makes electromagnetic acoustic imaging an excellent technology for diagnosing a whole range of tumors despite their location.

However, many wonder: how safe is RF or microwave energy when used on humans? It is the same form of energy used for radar and cooking. Studies have shown that the low level of electromagnetic energy required for the body is safe on human tissues. Researchers have also demonstrated the technology’s ability to detect and localize tumors as small as 2 mm in diameter.

James Laskaris, EE, BME
James Laskaris, EE, BME, Clinical Analyst — Mr. James Laskaris is a senior emerging technology analyst at MD Buyline and has been with the company since 1994. With over 30 years of experience in the healthcare field, Mr. Laskaris is the primary analyst of high-end OR technology. He also covers issues related to the legislative and reimbursement effect on healthcare and authors a bimonthly “Issues that Matter” publication. Mr. Laskaris received his biomedical engineering degree from Southern Illinois University. His work has been published in hfm Magazine, Radiology Manager and Healthcare Purchasing News.