The Creation of Ultrasound Technology


Ultrasound Technology pic

Ultrasound Technology

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Ultrasound technology, invented more than half a century ago, has become more and more accurate at delineating the development of babies before birth. The technique uses high-frequency sound waves, harmlessly bounced back from the physical body of the unborn child, to create black-and-white images of their subject.

In Glasgow, Scotland, Tom Brown, Ian Donald, and John McVicar worked together to create the first clinical uses for ultrasound technology, which they debuted in 1956. Brown was an engineer, Donald an obstetrician, and McVicar a gynecological registrar. They grounded their technology in a previous system used to pinpoint flaws in the design of naval vessels. In fact, Donald gained his early observations on the capabilities of echo-sounding technologies from his experiences in the Royal Air Force during World War II.

Donald and his coauthors published an article on their work in a 1958 issue of the journal The Lancet. “Investigation of Abdominal Masses by Pulsed Ultrasound” offered the first ultrasound images showing fetal development, and went on to achieve landmark status in the medical profession.

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