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Basic Parts & Different Ultrasound Applications

Basic parts of the Ultrasound machine, and most used applications described

Ultrasound machines are incredibly useful in the medical industry. Ultrasound machines use pulses of sound in order to build up an image of the inside of the body. They are most commonly used to examine a fetus in utero, however, they can be used for a number of different medical reasons outside of pregnancy. Here is the basic make up of an ultrasound machine.
Basic Parts of an Ultrasound Machine

  • Transducer Probe – This is a probe that sends and recieves sounds in order to build up an image of the inside of the body.
  • Central Processing Unit (CPU) – The CPU is the brain of the ultrasound machine. It processes all of the calculations needed and contains all of the electrical power supplies for itself and the Transducer Probe.
  • Transducer Pulse Controls – The transducer pulse controls change the the amplitude, the frequency, and the duration of the pulses that are emitted from the transducer probe.
  • Display – This displays the images that are generated by the information that the CPU has processed.
  • Keyboard/cursor – This is similar to any personal computer. It allows the operator of the machine to input information and take measurements from the display.
  • Disk Storage Device – This is simply used to store the information and the images taken so that they can be consulted later and in the case of pregnancy given as a souvenir of the examination.
  • Printer – Allows the images and information to be printed out for medical review and for souvenir purposes if so wished.

Different Types of Ultrasound

The most common ultrasound machines offer a 2D slice of a three dimensional object, such as a fetus. However there are other types of ultrasound that offer different images, such as 3D ultrasound and Doppler ultrasound.

In the past decade, ultrasound machine capable of creating accurate 3D images have been developed. This is done by taking many 2D images by scanning across the body and rotating the inserted probes. These images are then compiled by the computer and formed into one 3D image. 3D ultrasound gives a much more conprehensive look at whatever you are examining, and are best used for :

  1. Early detection of benign and cancerous tumors
  2. Visualizing the fetus to examine it for abnormalities in growth, especially in the face and limbs.
  3. Visualizing blood flow in various organs of the fetus.


As you may have already guessed, Doppler ultrasound is based on the Doppler effect. When the object that the probe of the ultrasound waves are aimed at is moving, the frequency of the echoes changes. This creates a higher frequency if the object is moving towards the probe, and a lower frequency if the object is moving away from the probe. How much the frequency changes can tell you how fast that object is actually moving. The Doppler ultrasound has been most successfully used to measure the blood flow through the heart and other major arteries.

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