How It Works: Ultrasound Probe and Transducer Connectors

Ultrasound Probes and Transducers - Fri Aug 03 2018
There are many different varieties of ultrasound probe or transducers. As we’ve discussed many times in various blog articles, there are linear array probes, phased array / sector array transducers, endocavitary and curved array probes. There are single crystal probes, multi- element probes, and 3D/4D probes. But until this article, we’ve emphasized the difference between the faces and lenses of probes along with their application potential. There is, however, another integral aspect to ultrasound probes that must be taken into consideration: Ultrasound connectors.
ultrasound probe connector
Pristine ultrasound connector
Potential Impact:

The ultrasound connector fits into the ultrasound port on the system being employed. Each ultrasound system only has a limited amount of ports (most range between 1 -4 ports) – limited the number of transducers that can be used at once. The transducer’s connector must be kept clean and in pristine condition. The accumulation of dust or dirt within the crevices of the connector can cause a miscommunication between the probe and ultrasound unit – impairing image quality. Some of the dirt or dust may cling to the ultrasound system – damaging imaging for any probe that is connected to the unit. The port and connector act as the brains of the ultrasound system – if there is any blockage the rest of the body is negatively impacted.

 In some rare cases, damage to the probe connector can actually impair the ultrasound port while being connected. This might break the whole port, and prevent any future connectivity with any transducer. This issue creates very expensive and inconvenient headaches for doctors, administrators and sonographers.

Compatibility and Size:

Another crucial factor to consider when using an ultrasound probe or transducer is to check the size of the port. Often times, manufacturers will make a probe and name is the same thing – despite the fact that the connector is a different size. For example, certain Philips probes are compatible with large stationary systems such as the IE33, and have a connector that fit that particular port. Philips will manufacture the same exact probe, but one with a different connector size that is compatible with the CX30 or CX50portable systems and not the stationary units.

This problem often causes confusion amongst diagnosticians, hospital administrators and private practitioners. Certain companies, GE for instance, became aware of this particular difficulty and began naming the probes for portable systems “RS”. So, for example, if a diagnostician were to be performing an abdominal ultrasound, and was using a stationary system, she would use the GE 8C probe. If that same doctor was using a portable GE system, though, she’d employ the 8C-RS transducer.

9L-RS Small Connector
The GE RS Probe Connector is significantly smaller than the connector in the image above.

When looking to purchase a new probe or transducer, especially a used or refurbished one, it pays to make sure that the connector condition is pristine, clean and the proper fit. Neglecting to consider these factors can lead to costly consequences.

At A.M.E. Ultrasounds we pride ourselves on providing the highest quality customer service. If there is a particular topic you would like to read about, learn more about, or would be interested in, please feel free to contact us!

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