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DESCRIPTION JP2000254126

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DESCRIPTION JP2000254126
[0001]
FIELD OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to ultrasound probes, and more
particularly to the prevention of multiple reflections.
[0002]
2. Description of the Related Art In an ultrasonic probe, an ultrasonic transducer is contained in
an abutting portion in contact with a living body, and one or more matching layers are provided
on the living body side, and further on the living body side An acoustic lens is provided. The
surface of the acoustic lens functions as a transmitting and receiving wavefront, which is in
contact with the surface of the living body.
[0003]
As is well known, ultrasonic waves have the property of being reflected and scattered at
interfaces of different acoustic impedances, and because of this property, each interface between
the inside of the probe, the surface of a living body, and the surface of an organ in the vicinity of
each other. Causes multiple reflections. When the level of multiple reflection is large, the image
quality of the ultrasound image is greatly reduced, and a lot of noise appears especially in the
vicinity of the ultrasound probe.
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[0004]
Conventionally, in order to prevent and reduce multiple reflections in the inside of the probe,
adjustment of the acoustic impedance by the selection of the material for the matching material
and the acoustic lens as described above has been carried out. , That was just a device inside the
probe, so to speak.
[0005]
According to the study of the present inventors, as shown in FIG. 1, when the ultrasonic probe
main body 10 is brought into contact with the living body surface 100 and the ultrasonic wave
101 is transmitted inside the living body in that state, In addition to the echo 102 that is
returned to the probe again, side echo 103 that comes around the abutment portion is also
considerably present in the echo that has been reflected by.
And since the side echo 103 has a very large difference in acoustic impedance between the living
body surface 100 and the atmosphere, it reflects again on the living body surface 100 (104),
which can be a major cause of multiple reflection. That is, when the side echo reflected by the
living body surface 100 around the abutment portion is reflected again inside the living body and
reaches the transmission / reception wavefront 10A this time, it degrades the image quality of
the ultrasonic image as multiple reflection. Even if the ultrasound beam is sharpened to some
extent, scattered reflections of the ultrasound occur in the living body, so it is considered that
side echo components are present to a considerable extent in the echo.
[0006]
The present invention has been made in view of the above-described conventional problems, and
an object thereof is to eliminate and reduce the problem of multiple reflection due to side echo.
[0007]
Another object of the present invention is to address the problem of multiple reflections due to
side echoes while considering operability.
[0008]
[Means for Solving the Problems] In order to achieve the above object, according to the present
invention, there is provided a probe main body for transmitting and receiving ultrasonic waves
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through a transmitting and receiving wave front of a contact portion which is in contact with a
living body; Providing a side echo absorber provided on part or all of the periphery of the contact
portion and in intimate contact with the surface of the living body and having the function of
absorbing a side echo coming from the inside of the living body to the periphery of the
transmission / reception wave front; It features.
[0009]
According to the above configuration, the side echo from inside the living body is absorbed and
attenuated by the side echo absorber, and it is possible to reduce the component reflected on the
living body surface in the side echo.
Therefore, it is possible to reduce the multiple reflection due to the side echo and to improve the
image quality of the ultrasonic image.
[0010]
Preferably, an array transducer is incorporated in the contact portion, and the contact portion
has a rectangular shape extending in the element arrangement direction of the array transducer
when viewed from the living body side, and the side echo absorber is It is provided at least on the
longitudinal side of the contact portion.
In the probe main body, the electronic focusing of the ultrasonic wave is usually performed along
the longitudinal direction of the contact portion, while the focusing of the ultrasonic wave by the
acoustic lens is performed in the lateral direction.
Generally, the latter action is weaker than the former action, so it is presumed that more side
echoes come around the longitudinal side of the probe body. Therefore, it is necessary to
attenuate and absorb side echoes particularly at that site.
[0011]
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Desirably, the thickness of the side echo absorber is gradually reduced from the near side to the
far side of the contact portion. The above configuration is desirable from the operability of the
ultrasonic probe.
[0012]
Preferably, the side echo absorber is configured separately from the probe main body, and the
side echo absorber can be attached as needed. For example, if the side echo is not a problem, or
if the side echo absorber interferes with the diagnosis site or the contact angle, it is desirable to
be able to remove the side echo absorber.
[0013]
Of course, depending on the contact angle, the shape of the side echo absorber may be changed
while maintaining the adhesion to the surface of the living body.
[0014]
Preferably, the side echo absorber has a skirt shape which spreads to the living body side.
If a slope is formed on the aid echo absorber and the ultrasonic waves entering at the slope are
reflected obliquely, it is possible to prevent the ultrasonic waves from being reflected inside the
side echo absorber and entering again into the living body. That is, it becomes possible to confine
ultrasound in the side echo absorber.
[0015]
Preferably, the side echo absorber has a structure in which the acoustic impedance changes
continuously or stepwise in the thickness direction. According to this configuration, the
absorption efficiency of the ultrasonic waves can be enhanced by the effective damping action.
[0016]
Preferably, a plurality of types of side echo absorbers having different shapes are prepared, and
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the side echo absorbers are selected and used according to the conditions of ultrasonic diagnosis.
[0017]
BEST MODE FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION Preferred embodiments of the present
invention will be described below with reference to the drawings.
[0018]
FIG. 2 shows a preferred embodiment of the ultrasound probe according to the present invention,
and FIG. 2 is a conceptual view thereof.
[0019]
The ultrasound probe according to the present embodiment is composed of a main body 10 and
an absorber 12.
The main body 10 corresponds to the conventional ultrasonic probe itself, and an ultrasonic
transducer, which will be described later, is incorporated in the contact portion.
The contact surface 10A of the main body 10 is in contact with the living body surface 100, and
in this state, transmission and reception of ultrasonic waves are performed.
[0020]
As shown in FIG. 2, the absorber 12 is provided on the whole or a part of the periphery of the
main body 10, and in the present embodiment, provided on the longitudinal side of the contact
portion having a longitudinal shape as viewed from the living body side. It is done.
As shown in FIG. 2, the two absorbent bodies 12 have a skirt shape in cross section, that is, a
shape that gradually spreads from the upper side of the main body 10 to the living body surface.
The absorber 12 is made of a member having an acoustic impedance similar to that of a living
body at least on the side of the living body surface 100, and specifically, it is made of, for
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example, silicone rubber. The absorber 12 may be constituted by a single member, but of course
the absorber 12 may be constituted by superposing a plurality of members.
[0021]
As shown in FIG. 2, when ultrasonic waves are emitted from the main body 10, the ultrasonic
waves are transmitted inside the living body via the contact surface 10 A, and for example, the
ultrasonic waves 101 reflected on the surface of the organ 14 are again transmitted to the main
body 10. It is received. On the other hand, as described above, the side echo 103 reflected from
the surface of the organ 14 comes around the contact portion. The side echo 103 is effectively
absorbed and attenuated by the absorber 12, and as a result, multiple reflection by the side echo
103 is suppressed. This can significantly improve the image quality of the ultrasound image.
[0022]
FIG. 3 shows a perspective view of the ultrasonic probe according to the present embodiment. As
described above, the pair of absorbers 12 are provided on both sides of the main body 10. The
absorbers 12 are resiliently connected to each other by bands 16 or the like, that is, it is possible
to fix the pair of absorbers 12 to the main body 10 by means of such an elastic band 16. . Of
course, the absorbent body 12 may be detachably attached to the main body 10 using other
engagement means without using such a band. If the absorber 12 can be removed from the main
body 10, there is an advantage that the operability can be improved without the absorber 12
becoming an obstacle in ultrasonic diagnosis of, for example, a narrow site. On the other hand,
for example, in the diagnosis of the abdomen etc., the absorber 12 is attached to the main body
10, and there is an advantage that ultrasonic diagnosis can be performed under good
measurement conditions in which the side echo is reduced.
[0023]
FIG. 4 shows an ultrasonic probe according to another embodiment. In this embodiment, the
absorber 12 has a multilayer structure. The acoustic impedance changes continuously or
stepwise from the living body side to the upper part, and the acoustic impedance of the
lowermost layer in contact with the living body side is set approximately equal to the acoustic
impedance of the living body. Thereby, it is possible to effectively prevent the reflection of the
ultrasonic wave at the interface, and to smoothly introduce the ultrasonic wave into the absorber
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12. Then, the captured ultrasonic waves are gradually scattered and absorbed by the action of
each layer which changes stepwise or continuously and finally disappears. In this case, as
described above, since the absorber 12 has a skirt shape, that is, a slope is formed from the lower
portion to the upper portion, it is possible to confine ultrasonic waves in the absorber 12 using
the slope. . Here, if such an inclined surface is, for example, a flat upper surface, it is conceivable
that the ultrasonic wave is reflected again on that surface and the ultrasonic wave travels to the
inside of the living body, but the inclined surface as described above According to this, it is
possible to confine the ultrasound as described above.
[0024]
Incidentally, an acoustic lens 20 is provided in the case 18 in the main body 10. The surface on
the living body side of the acoustic lens 20 constitutes the contact surface 10A described above.
A matching layer 22 is provided on the back side of the acoustic lens 20, an array transducer 24
is provided on the back side of the matching layer, and a backing material 26 is further provided
on the back side. This structure itself is similar to a conventional ultrasound probe.
[0025]
In FIG. 5, an array transducer 24 is provided in the contact portion 10B as an ultrasonic
transducer, and the array transducer 24 is formed of a plurality of transducer elements 24A. As
described above, the longitudinal side absorber of the contact portion is provided, but of course
the absorber may be provided on the short side. That is, it is possible to select and use various
absorbers according to the diagnostic site and diagnostic conditions. Here, reference numerals
201 to 203 indicate outer shapes of various absorbers.
[0026]
As described above, according to the present invention, the problem of multiple reflections due to
side echo can be reduced.
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