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At the 98th Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), November 25-30 in Chicago, Siemens Healthcare (Booth #831, East Building/Lakeside Center at McCormick Place, Hall D) is introducing the ACUSON Freestyle™ ultrasound system that features wireless transducers, eliminating the impediment of cables in ultrasound imaging. To enable this pioneering technology, the system brings to the market a large number of innovations, including acoustics, system architecture, radio design, miniaturization, and image processing. The ACUSON Freestyle system will expand ultrasound’s use in interventional and therapeutic applications, where the technology provides numerous workflow and image quality advantages. The development of wireless ultrasound is in line with the objectives of the Healthcare Sector’s global initiative Agenda 2013 – specifically in the areas of innovation and accessibility.
Transducer cables have always been a cumbersome necessity in ultrasound imaging. Not only are they an impediment to fast and ergonomic examination procedures, but they also present an infection control risk in sterile interventional settings, even when they are covered in sterile sheaths. “Siemens Healthcare is the first company to introduce an ultrasound system that enables physicians to work with cable-free transducers,” says Jeffrey Bundy, CEO of the Siemens Healthcare Ultrasound business unit. “The ACUSON Freestyle system facilitates the use of advanced ultrasound technology into clinical fields requiring a sterile environment, such as interventional radiology, anesthesiology, critical care, cath lab, or emergency care.” Wireless transducers can also expand ultrasound into new and emerging applications such as administering nerve blocks, enhancing vascular access, and improving target localization through ultrasound guidance during therapeutic interventions and biopsies.
For image acquisition and processing, the ACUSON Freestyle system employs advanced synthetic aperture imaging technology, an integration of proprietary hardware and software that was specifically developed for the wireless signal transmission of full-resolution digital image data at very high data rates. Focusing on each pixel in the image, this method produces excellent image quality throughout the field of view. This design reduces the transducer’s power requirements, increasing battery life. Wireless real-time ultrasound data transmission is further enabled through the proprietary development of a novel ultra-wideband radio technology, which, operating at a high frequency of 7.8 Gigahertz, is not susceptible to interference with other electronic equipment.