Transducer Care Tips from an Ultrasound Tech Expert

In today's blog we are going to examine the care of transducers/probes/scan heads and get some tips from ultrasound tech expert, Matt Tomory.

Fri Mar 22 2013By Jonathan Payne


In today's blog we are going to examine the care of transducers/probes/scan heads and get some tips from ultrasound tech expert, Matt Tomory. Since there are so many different manufacturers of transducers today, it is expected that the care of each transducer is going to be different.

Matt suggests that the best place to start is the not even a part of the transducer itself, but rather, the system it is connected to. Matt states that "most transducers have over 100 connecting pins that interface with the transducer interface board on the ultrasound system."  One should "inspect the interface board for bent or broken pins that may damage a transducer plugged into that particular port. Next, inspect the transducer connector itself for bent or broken pins." In either case, Matt states "to remedy any issues or remove the transducer from service immediately as these mechanical failures will spread to other transducers and systems as they are moved around."

Next, "take a look at the method of cleaning and disinfection used by the department. Are they cleaning the transducers at all? Does the solution they use for disinfection have alcohol as a main ingredient?" As stated previously, all transducers are different.  Some of the trasnducers are capable of being cleaned with alcohol while other transducers should not be cleaned with any use of alcohol. According to Matt, "even with the same system, due to transducers being manufactured in different locations, you may have different care instructions for the various transducers on that system."  It is imperative that you check the manufacturers’ guidelines for approved methods and solutions.

Next you will need to inspect the endo-cavity and transesophageal transducer.  Matt suggest to check to see if "the department uses a manufacturer-approved disinfecting solution" and if they are "following the manufacturer’ recommendations as far as what parts can be submerged and how far?" Be sure you check to see if they are following "the guidelines of the solution manufacturer" in regards to the process and soak times. Matt says that "too often [he] [has] seen probes soaking well beyond recommended periods which will damage them." Also be sure to check and see if they are inspecting them for integrity breaches prior to soaking.  This is very important since "disinfection solution intrusion will render a transducer unrepairable."

Last but not least you should take a look at how the transducers are stored and handled. Matt suggests that you should then check to see if the transducers are "exposed to sharp objects, coiled up tightly, or lying on top of the system." You may want to re-think how the probes are stored. According to Matt an easy fix is "lacing a mat or throw rug under the system so if a transducer is dropped, it will impact a soft surface."  

If cared for properly, your ultrasound transducer should have a long life span.  However, it is imperative that you treat them with care and follow the specific manufacturer’s guidelines for disinfecting.

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