Saturday, February 5, 2022

History of ultrasound in medicine

Lazzaro Spallanzani an Italian physicist is most often credited person for discovering ultrasonography. In 1794, he analyzed the basic mechanisms of the navigation of flying bats in the dark, and rightly deduced that bats employed sound rather than light to orient themselves.

In 1877, Jacques and Pierre Currie were the first to discover piezoelectricity. This discovery was very important to ultrasound since the ultrasound transducers or probes receive and emit sound waves by using the piezoelectric effect.

Powerful high frequency ultrasonic echo-sounding device was developed by emminent French physicist Paul Langévin and Russian scientist Constantin Chilowsky, then residing in France.

In 1915, Paul Langévin, commissioned to create a device that would detect objects found on the bottom of the ocean. He ended up inventing a hydrophone, which was referred to as the “first transducer” by the World Congress on Ultrasound in Medical Education.

In the 1920s and 1930s, ultrasound was used for physical therapy, primarily for members of Europe’s soccer teams. It also was used for sterilization of vaccines and for cancer therapy in combination with radiation therapy.

Karl Dussik, a neurologist and a psychiatrist at the University of Vienna in Austria, is generally regarded as the first physician to employ ultrasound in medical diagnosis in 1947-1948. He and his brother Friederick, a physicist, introduced hyperphonography, a technique which used ultrasound to visualize the cerebral ventricles. They transmitted an ultrasound beam through the human skull in attempts of detecting brain tumors.

In 1949 Douglas Howry, a radiologist and coworkers used surplus radio and Air Force and radar parts to build a pulse-echo ultrasonic scanner capable of making two-dimensional images. In 1950, using a 35-mm camera, Howry recorded the first cross-sectional images with ultrasound.

In United States, George Ludwig, while serving at the Naval Medical Research Institute in Maryland first applied ultrasound for medical purposes in the late 1940s. In 1949, he carried out research into gallstones embedded in soft tissues, using a through transmission technique. His pioneering investigations into the interactions between ultrasonic waves and animal tissues, helped lay the foundations for the later successful use of ultrasound in medical practice.

In United Kingdom, in 1956, Dr. Ian Donald, an English physician, incorporated ultrasound into the OB/GYN field of medicine. Ian Donald and an engineer named Tom Brown developed the first prototype system for ultrasound, but it wasn’t perfected until the end of the 1950s.

In the 1980s, ultrasound technology became more sophisticated with improved image quality and 3D imaging capabilities. These improvements continued into the 1990s with the adoption of 4D (real time) capabilities.
History of ultrasound in medicine

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