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Safety of ultrasound imaging

Ultrasound is a very safe form of imaging.  Normal use of greyscale imaging within radiology has not to date been shown to have any measurable bioeffect in humans, when used postnatally. See the British Medical Ultrasound Society Safety Statement.

ultrasound image inflamed vermiform appendix
Ultrasound of a screaming vermiform appendix


Despite this there are a number of safety concerns regarding the use of ultrasound imaging, and all ultrasound operators should be aware of these and how they relate their equipment and applications.

Concerns regarding the safety of ultrasound are primarily centred on the possible bioeffects. Issues such as miss interpretation, infection control and injury to operators due to extended use have also been raised.

 

Safety Issues

 

Bioeffects of ultrasound

Thermal effects

Mechanical effects Non linear effects – Streaming; Cavitation

Infection control

Operator dependence

Ergonomics/Health and safety