How to Find the Right Ultrasound Transducer

December 07 2020

Medical professional holding a convex transducer and operating an ultrasound device

The right ultrasound transducer will unlock the full potential of your equipment. Ultrasound technology is advancing. You’ll need the right tools in order to take full advantage of your system’s capabilities.

There are a variety of ultrasound transducer types to choose from. Each one caters to different specialties and applications. Selecting an ultrasound transducer is an important decision that will dictate what you can do with your equipment.

UltrasoundQuotes is your ultimate resource for everything ultrasound-related. We’re here to guide you through the buying process. One of the steps in this process is choosing between ultrasound transducer types.

Discover the best ultrasound transducer for your applications here.

What is an Ultrasound Transducer?

An ultrasound transducer, also known as an ultrasound probe, is a small device that produces sound waves. When the transducer is placed against the skin, these waves bounce off body tissues and create echoes.

The ultrasound transducer receives these echoes and sends them to a computer. The computer then uses this information to create an image called a sonogram. All ultrasound transducer types work in the same basic way.

Ultrasound Transducer Types

Ultrasound technology has improved tremendously over the years. Transducers have followed suit, resulting in better image quality. Ultrasound transducer types differ in construction (piezoelectric crystal arrangement), aperture, and frequency.

Here are the three most common ultrasound transducer types:

1. Linear Transducer

A linear transducer, or linear probe, has a linear piezoelectric crystal arrangement. The shape of the beam is rectangular. Linear transducers offer the best overall image quality.

Certain features, including the footprint and frequency, vary depending on whether the linear probe is for 2D or 3D imaging. For instance, a linear transducer for 2D imaging has a central frequency of 2.5 MHz to 12 MHz. Common applications include vascular examination, blood vessel visualization, intraoperative applications, photoacoustic imaging, thyroid imaging, and breast imaging.

A linear transducer for 3D imaging has a central frequency of 7.5 MHz to 11 MHz. Uses include breast and thyroid examination, as well as arteria carotis vascular applications.

2. Convex Transducer

A convex transducer, also known as a curved transducer, has a curvilinear piezoelectric crystal arrangement. The beam shape is convex, making this ultrasound transducer ideal for in-depth examinations. However, the image resolution decreases as depth increases.

A convex transducer for 2D imaging has a central frequency of 2.5 MHz to 7.5 MHz. It is typically used for abdominal, transvaginal, or transrectal examinations. A 2D convex transducer may also be used to diagnose organs.

A convex transducer for 3D imaging has a central frequency of 3.5 MHz to 6.5 MHz. These transducers are also commonly used for abdominal examinations.

3. Phased Array Transducer

A phased array transducer gets its name from its piezoelectric crystal arrangement. The most common crystal arrangement is phased-array.

A phased array transducer has a central frequency of 2 MHz to 7.5 MHz. The beam point is narrow but expands depending on the applied frequency. The near-field resolution of a phased array transducer is not ideal.

Medical professionals use this transducer type for cardiac, abdominal, and brain examinations.

Other Ultrasound Transducer Types

With these may be the most common ultrasound transducer types, that doesn’t mean they’re the only ones.

Small pencil transducers are available to measure blood flow. Endocavitary transducers help perform internal examinations. There is also the transesophageal transducer, which helps professionals obtain a better image of the heart through the esophagus.

Knowing your options is important. Make sure you understand what image quality and penetration depth you need for your practice. Choose an ultrasound transducer that is compatible with your system and applications.

A linear transducer, curved transducer, and phased array transducer

Choosing the Right Equipment for Your Practice

Of course, the transducer is only as good as the device. Is it time to upgrade your ultrasound system? If so, turn to UltrasoundQuotes.

We offer the largest selection of new and used ultrasound equipment from industry-leading manufacturers. Compare pricing on high-quality equipment before you buy with UltrasoundQuotes.

Find the Equipment You Need at a Great Price.