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Jonathan Rothberg, a entrepreneur who prides himself on drastically disrupting the biomedical industry every so often, has typically big claims for his new product.

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The Butterfly iQ , a cheap handheld ultrasound tool with AI smarts tucked inside, will 1 revolutionize medical imaging in hospitals and clinics, 2 change the game in global health, and 3 eventually become a consumer product that will be as ubiquitous as the household thermometer, he says. He expects to bring the price down on the handheld gadget, and is already looking ahead to radically new products. All these form factors are possible because Butterfly uses a very different technology than conventional ultrasound.

A typical system has a display screen on a bulky cart with several wands for imaging at different depths within the body. The waves that bounce back from various body tissues move the membrane and are registered as an electric signal, which creates the image.

Welcome to Ultrasound

For all medical imaging procedures, the FDA recommends that patients talk to their health care provider to understand the reason for the examination, the medical information that will be obtained, the potential risks, and how the results will be used to manage the medical condition or pregnancy. Because ultrasound is not based on ionizing radiation, it is particularly useful for women of child-bearing age when CT or other imaging methods would otherwise result in exposure to radiation.

Ultrasound is the most widely used medical imaging method for viewing the fetus during pregnancy. Routine examinations are performed to assess and monitor the health status of the fetus and mother. Ultrasound examinations provide parents with a valuable opportunity to view and hear the heartbeat of the fetus, bond with the unborn baby, and capture images to share with family and friends.

Ultrasound - Diagnostic and Biopsy Services for Breast Evaluation

In fetal ultrasound, three-dimensional 3D ultrasound allows the visualization of some facial features and possibly other parts such as fingers and toes of the fetus. Four-dimensional 4D ultrasound is 3D ultrasound in motion.

Ultrasound Imaging | Ultrasound Imaging Services | WDH

While ultrasound is generally considered to be safe with very low risks, the risks may increase with unnecessary prolonged exposure to ultrasound energy, or when untrained users operate the device. Expectant mothers should also be aware of purchasing over-the-counter fetal heartbeat monitoring systems also called doptones.

These devices should only be used by trained health care providers when medically necessary. Use of these devices by untrained persons could expose the fetus to prolonged and unsafe energy levels, or could provide information that is interpreted incorrectly by the user.


Ultrasound imaging does introduce energy into the body, and laboratory studies have shown that diagnostic levels of ultrasound can produce physical effects in tissue, such as pressure oscillations with subsequent mechanical effects and rise in temperature. Therefore, FDA recommends that health care providers consider ways to minimize exposure while maintaining diagnostic quality when using ultrasound.

Individual states regulate the use of diagnostic ultrasound through recommendations and requirements for personnel qualifications, quality assurance and quality control programs and facility accreditation. Manufacturers of ultrasound imaging products are responsible for compliance with all applicable requirements of Title 21 Code of Federal Regulations Subchapter J, Radiological Health Parts through Because they are medical devices, ultrasound imaging equipment must also comply with the medical device regulations.

For more information, see Getting to Market with a Medical Device.

Ultrasound medical imaging

Prompt reporting of adverse events can help the FDA identify and better understand the risks associated with the product. We encourage health care providers and patients who suspect a problem with a medical imaging device to file a voluntary report through MedWatch, the FDA Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program. Health care personnel employed by facilities that are subject to FDA's user facility reporting requirements should follow the reporting procedures established by their facilities.

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  6. Medical device manufacturers, distributors, importers, and device user facilities which include many health care facilities must comply with the Medical Device Reporting MDR Regulations of 21 CFR Part In addition to following the general recommendations for manufacturers, facilities, and any member of the public for reporting problems for adverse events associated with ultrasound imaging, the following information should be included in reports, if available:.