With your settings more or less where you want them, now you will turn to actually scanning for an image. The most important points to remember here are these:

 

  • Use plenty of gel.
  • Orient yourself so that the probe is facing the correct direction.
  • Be sure to apply sufficient pressure.
  • Keep the probe moving (don’t just slap it on there and hope you’re in the right spot).
  • Always be adjusting the angle of the probe until you find just the right angle.
  • Once you have the image mostly where you like it, you may want to fine-tune the gain sliders.

A few additional tips:

  • Focus on the anatomy … really think about what you’re looking at and the angle at which it should lie with relation to the surface of the probe. Think of the ultrasound beam as “slicing” through the patient’s foot, giving you an image of what lies directly below the probe. Move the patient’s foot or ankle to see known anatomical structures move. All of this is part of learning to “see in ultrasound,” and at some point things simply begin to click.
  • Generally keep the probe oriented with the little dot to your left (so that everything on your left is on the left side of the screen). Two common exceptions: First, in scanning the plantar fascia, where you will scan longitudinally, coming up over the calcaneous, with the dot-end of the probe pointed distal toward the toes. Second, in scanning the Achilles tendon, where you will usually scan longitudinally along the back of the heel, with the dot-end of the probe pointed toward the patient’s head.
  • If you’re scanning the ankle or looking for anything especially superficial, try using a stand-off. This will have a substantial impact on your results, by moving the region of interest a little lower on the screen, bringing it into a better plane of focus.
  • Remember that each part of the anatomy, or each pathology, might entail a small learning curve in and of itself. As you go through a number of similar instances, you will begin making clearer and clearer distinctions, and pretty soon it will become part of your working repertoire. Just takes practice!

 

 

Quick Links: Pre-Capture

  1. Name and ID
  2. Adjust Depth
  3. Check Frequency
  4. Adjust Focus Pointers
  5. Fine-Tune Gain Sliders
  6. Scan for Image
  7. Freeze the Image

 

Or click here to return to the Work Flow Overview