Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed an ultrasound patch that can produce high-resolution, live images of large blood vessels and internalized organs. Which will help to easily and conveniently image and monitor the internal organs and embryos in the future.
Ultrasound imaging or sonography is a procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to create an image of a part in the body. This procedure is usually used to examine the fetus, diagnose certain conditions, or guide surgeons during certain medical procedures.
Therefore, ultrasound imaging is a safe window that provides vivid images of the patient’s internal organs. However, this process requires trained technicians to direct and maintain the sound beams to the desired area of the body, and then produce high-resolution images of the internal organs.
To perform an ultrasound, a technician applies a liquid jelly “gel” to the patient’s skin that helps transmit ultrasound waves. and then push the probe or waveguide; On the gel it sends sound waves back to the body, which bounce back as an echo that distinguishes the body’s internal structures and back to the probe where they are translated into visible images.
And some patients require long periods of imaging. Some hospitals offer sensors mounted on robotic arms that can hold and hold the ultrasound probe in the desired location. However, the liquid “gel” dries up over time, preventing long-range shooting. Ultrasound imaging today also requires large and specialized equipment that is only available in hospitals and doctors’ offices.
But scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology can make this advanced technology available and portable in a similar way that you would when you buy a medical patch at the drugstore.
In a new research paper published July 28 in the journal Science and given a press release by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT scientists have created a new postage stamp-sized ultrasound patch that adheres to the skin and provides continuous ultrasound imaging of internal organs . for a period of 48 hours.
The new ultrasound adhesive developed by the MIT team produced high-resolution images over a longer period of time by fusing a stretchable adhesive layer with a fixed series of ultrasound vectors. “This combination enabled the device to conform to the skin and maintain the relative position of the ultrasound carriers, resulting in clearer and more accurate images,” notes Chun Wang, the study’s first author, in the press release on.
Here is the patch on the skin pic.twitter.com/UpcJ83jxpg
— Eric Topol (@EricTopol) 28 July 2022
The new adhesive layer consists of two thin layers of flexible elastomer surrounding a solid middle layer of “hydrogel” (the material that easily transmits sound waves). Unlike conventional gels, the material used is flexible and stretchable. “The two layers of elastomer prevent drying out of the hydrogel layer between them,” reports the team.
The bottom rubber layer is designed to adhere to the skin, while the top layer is attached to a fixed set of sound wave carriers that the team also designed. The area of the designed glue is “2 square centimeters”, and its thickness is “3 millimeters”. This is the approximate area of a postage stamp.
The researchers tested the patch on healthy volunteers who wore it on different parts of the body, such as the neck, chest, stomach and arms. The patch remained on the skin for 48 hours and produced clear images of the internal structures examined. During this period, the volunteers did many activities such as sitting, standing, jogging, cycling and lifting weights.
Through the resulting images, the researchers were able to observe the change in the diameter of the main blood vessels while sitting and standing. The spots also captured details of the internal organs, such as how the heart changes shape when you exercise. The researchers were also able to watch how the stomachs swelled and contracted as the volunteers drank the juice and when they expelled it.
The researchers were also able to identify some light spots in the muscles while some volunteers were lifting weights, indicating a small temporary damage in those areas. “With this imaging, we may be able to determine the moment when the exerciser should not overtrain and stop before the muscles are damaged,” says the team.
“We are confident that we have ushered in a new era of wearable imaging. With just a few patches on your outside body, you can see your internal organs,” said Guanhee Zhao, professor of mechanical, civil and environmental engineering and study leader.
The team is currently working on developing the device so that it can work wirelessly. Patients will then be able to wear the ultrasound patches and take them home, and it will also be easy for them to get them from the doctor or pharmacy. Which will help to monitor the various internal organs as well as to monitor the development of tumors and the growth of fetuses in the womb.
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