June 24, 2013 - The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared the Virtual Touch imaging ultrasound application, a commercially available implementation of Acoustic Radiation Force Impulse (ARFI) technology from Siemens Healthcare. The application is indicated for use in abdominal, breast, thyroid, small parts, and musculoskeletal exams.
Virtual Touch imaging is an approach to visualizing tissue stiffness, allowing clinicians to visualize pathology deeper into the body and more clearly than ever before. Using sound beams to gently compress tissue, Virtual Touch imaging displays a map, or elastogram, of relative tissue stiffness within the region of interest. This elastogram provides clinicians with more diverse clinical information and increases diagnostic confidence, improving clinical decision-making for more efficient patient care.
Available on Siemens’ premium ACUSON S2000 and ultra-premium ACUSON S3000 ultrasound systems, Virtual Touch imaging is designed to reduce dependence on user technique in order to improve inter-operator reproducibility.
Precisely focusing the ultrasound beam within the region of interest, Virtual Touch imaging maximizes sensitivity to create a more uniform elastogram. By comparison, existing manual compression techniques apply pressure merely at the skin surface, with uncontrollable stress applied in deeper tissues.
Virtual Touch imaging reportedly features high sensitivity to extremely small-tissue displacements, which leads to enhanced border definition and improved depiction of lesion size. This sensitivity also helps enable clinicians to identify the stiffest portion of the tissue to enhance targeting of fine-needle aspiration (FNA) and biopsy sampling.
One of the benefits of Virtual Touch imaging is that it enables the user to avoid the limitations of compression elastography, compressing tissue without any user dependency to provide a higher-quality display of the lesion, according to Dirk-Andre Clevert, section head of the Interdisciplinary Ultrasound Center at Germany’s University Hospital Munich-Grosshadern. Doctors there use ultrasound elastography imaging to examine many patients who are treated annually at the center.
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FDA clears elastography for abdominal, breast, thyroid, musculoskeletal exams. Appl Radiol.