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DESCRIPTION JP2009153675

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DESCRIPTION JP2009153675
An ultrasonic probe which allows an operator to easily recognize that the contact surface of the
ultrasonic probe with the object is abraded, or which can prevent the contact surface from
wearing. An ultrasonic imaging apparatus is realized. Since the acoustic lens 10 is composed of a
gray surface layer 41 and a red wear detection layer 42 located therein, the red wear detection
layer 42 is used when the acoustic lens 10 is worn. Is exposed on the contact surface with the
subject 2 and the wear is clearly shown as a change that can be easily recognized visually by the
operator, and thus deterioration of tomographic image information or deterioration of safety
when the worn acoustic lens 10 is used Achieve to prevent. [Selected figure] Figure 4
Ultrasonic probe and ultrasonic imaging apparatus
[0001]
The present invention relates to an ultrasonic probe and an ultrasonic imaging apparatus which
perform inspection by applying gel or the like on a contact surface with a subject.
[0002]
In recent years, examinations using an ultrasonic imaging apparatus are routinely performed in
hospitals.
In this inspection, an ultrasonic probe in which a gel in the form of jelly (jelly) or the like is
applied to the contact surface with the subject is brought into close contact with the subject. At
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the end of the examination, the gel attached to the contact surface of the subject and the
ultrasonic probe is wiped off by an operator or the like (see, for example, Non-Patent Document
1).
[0003]
In addition, the contact surface of the ultrasound probe with the subject is an acoustic lens for
focusing the ultrasound in the subject, and the acoustic impedance (impedance) is close to the
subject, such as rubber (gum) It is formed using a soft material. Here, gel or the like adheres to
the contact surface of the ultrasonic probe made of rubber or the like every time the inspection is
performed, and cleaning using a cloth or the like by the operator is performed. Japan Electronic
Machinery Industry Association, "Revision Medical Ultrasonic Equipment Handbook", Corona,
January 20, 1997, p. 205-206
[0004]
However, according to the above-mentioned background art, deterioration such as wear occurs
on the contact surface of the ultrasonic probe with the object. That is, the acoustic lens forming
the contact surface with the subject is formed of a soft material such as rubber. On the other
hand, when the operator cleans the contact surface, if the cleaning tool made of a relatively hard
material is used, the acoustic lens causes scratches, dents, etc. on the contact surface.
[0005]
In particular, cloths (for example, Kimwipe) for cleaning that are used in medical and
manufacturing fields (for example, Kimwipe) do not generate dusts, pulp wastes, etc. from the
viewpoints of hygiene and operation. The constituent fiber is made hard. This cloth sufficiently
damages the contact surface of the soft ultrasonic probe by cleaning the contact surface of the
ultrasonic probe, and wears the contact surface by passing through more cleanings. It becomes.
[0006]
Wear of the contact surface causes deterioration of the image quality, exposure of the built-in
electric parts and the like, and it is not desirable that the operator continue to use it without
being aware of the wear.
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[0007]
The present invention has been made to solve the problems in the background art described
above, and the operator can easily recognize that the contact surface of the ultrasonic probe with
the object has worn, or this contact surface It is an object of the present invention to provide an
ultrasonic probe and an ultrasonic imaging apparatus capable of preventing the
[0008]
In order to solve the problems described above and achieve the object, the ultrasonic probe
according to the invention of the first aspect is provided with a piezoelectric element plate for
transmitting and receiving an ultrasonic wave, and the piezoelectric element plate in the
transmission and reception direction. An acoustic probe comprising: a surface layer having a
uniform color covering a contact surface with the object in the transmitting and receiving
direction; and the piezoelectric of the surface layer. It is characterized in that an abrasion
detection layer of a color different from the surface layer is provided in an inward direction in
which the element plate is positioned.
[0009]
In the invention according to the first aspect, the acoustic lens is composed of two layers of
surface layers different in color and a wear detection layer.
[0010]
The ultrasonic probe according to the invention of the second aspect comprises a piezoelectric
element plate for transmitting and receiving an ultrasonic wave, an acoustic matching layer
mounted in the transmitting and receiving direction in which the transmission and reception of
the piezoelectric element plate are performed, and the acoustic An acoustic probe mounted in the
transmitting and receiving direction of the matching layer, the acoustic lens having a uniform
color covering a contact surface with the object in the transmitting and receiving direction It is
characterized in that a layer and an abrasion detection layer of a color different from that of the
surface layer are provided in an inner direction in which the acoustic matching layer of the
surface layer is located.
[0011]
In the invention according to the second aspect, the acoustic lens is composed of two layers of
surface layers different in color and a wear detection layer.
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[0012]
In the ultrasonic probe according to the invention of the third aspect, in the ultrasonic probe
according to the first or second aspect, the wear detection layer and the surface layer have an
acoustic impedance similar to each other. It is characterized by
[0013]
In the invention of the third aspect, the wear detection layer and the surface layer are made to be
acoustically similar materials.
[0014]
The ultrasonic probe according to the invention of the fourth aspect is characterized in that, in
the ultrasonic probe according to the third aspect, the surface layer has a uniform thickness in
the inward direction. I assume.
[0015]
In the invention of this fourth aspect, the surface layer requires the same time for the same wear
everywhere.
[0016]
The ultrasonic probe according to the invention of the fifth aspect is characterized in that, in the
ultrasonic probe according to the fourth aspect, the contact surface of the acoustic lens is flat.
[0017]
In the invention of the fifth aspect, adhesion with the subject is improved.
[0018]
The ultrasonic probe according to the invention of the sixth aspect is the ultrasonic probe
according to the fifth aspect, wherein the surface layer and the wear detection layer are
substantially parallel to the contact surface. And the like.
[0019]
In the ultrasonic probe according to the invention of the seventh aspect, in the ultrasonic probe
according to the first or second aspect, the wear detection layer has an acoustic impedance
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different from that of the surface layer. It is characterized by
[0020]
In the invention of the seventh aspect, the surface layer and the wear detection layer are formed
of different materials.
[0021]
The ultrasonic probe according to the invention of the eighth aspect is the ultrasonic probe
according to the seventh aspect, wherein the surface layer and the wear detection layer are
partially in close proximity to the contact surface. It has the interface which becomes.
[0022]
In the invention of the eighth aspect, the wear detection layer is partial.
[0023]
In the ultrasonic probe according to the invention of the ninth aspect, in the ultrasonic probe
according to the eighth aspect, a position where the boundary surface is the short distance is a
position near the center of the contact surface. It is characterized by being located in
[0024]
In the invention of the ninth aspect, wear near the center of the contact surface is detected.
[0025]
The ultrasonic probe according to the invention of the tenth aspect is the ultrasonic probe
according to the eighth aspect, wherein the boundary surface is a position where the short
distance is the end portion of the contact surface. It is characterized by being located near.
[0026]
In the invention of the tenth aspect, wear near the end of the contact surface is detected.
[0027]
The ultrasonic probe according to the invention of the eleventh aspect is the ultrasonic probe
according to the eighth aspect, wherein the boundary surface is along the contact surface at a
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position where the short distance is achieved. It has a character-shaped shape.
[0028]
In the invention of the eleventh aspect, the wear is clearly shown to the operator using a
character.
[0029]
An ultrasonic imaging apparatus according to the invention of a twelfth aspect transmits an
ultrasonic wave to a subject and receives an ultrasonic wave reflected from the subject, and an
ultrasonic probe based on the reflected ultrasonic wave. An ultrasonic imaging apparatus
comprising: an image processing unit that forms tomographic image information; and a display
unit that displays the tomographic image information, wherein the ultrasonic probe is a
piezoelectric element plate that transmits and receives ultrasonic waves, and And a surface layer
having a uniform color covering a contact surface with the object in the transmission and
reception direction, and the acoustic lens having the acoustic lens mounted in the transmission
and reception direction of the piezoelectric element plate; It is characterized in that an abrasion
detection layer of a color different from that of the surface layer is provided in the inside
direction in which the piezoelectric element plate is located.
[0030]
The ultrasonic probe according to the invention of the thirteenth aspect is an ultrasonic probe
comprising a piezoelectric element plate for transmitting and receiving ultrasonic waves, and an
acoustic lens mounted in the transmitting and receiving direction of the piezoelectric element
plate. The acoustic lens includes a lens layer for converging the ultrasonic wave in the
transmission and reception direction of the piezoelectric element plate, and a protective layer
having a hardness higher than the hardness of the lens layer in the transmission and reception
direction of the lens layer. It is characterized by
[0031]
In the invention of the thirteenth aspect, the protective layer prevents abrasion of the lens layer.
[0032]
An ultrasonic probe according to the invention of a fourteenth aspect is characterized in that, in
the ultrasonic probe according to the thirteenth aspect, the lens layer is formed using rubber.
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[0033]
In the invention of the fourteenth aspect, the lens layer is made to have an acoustic impedance
intermediate between the object and the acoustic matching layer.
[0034]
An ultrasonic probe according to the invention of a fifteenth aspect is characterized in that, in the
ultrasonic probe according to the fourteenth aspect, the protective layer is formed using
polyimide.
[0035]
In the invention of the fifteenth aspect, the polyimide has higher hardness than rubber and
reduces wear.
[0036]
An ultrasonic imaging apparatus according to the invention of a sixteenth aspect transmits an
ultrasonic wave to a subject and receives an ultrasonic wave reflected from the subject based on
the ultrasonic probe and the reflected ultrasonic wave. An ultrasonic imaging apparatus
comprising: an image processing unit that forms tomographic image information; and a display
unit that displays the tomographic image information, wherein the ultrasonic probe is a
piezoelectric element plate that transmits and receives ultrasonic waves, and A piezoelectric
element plate has an acoustic lens mounted in the transmission / reception direction, and the
acoustic lens is a lens layer for converging the ultrasonic wave in the transmission / reception
direction of the piezoelectric element plate, and the transmission / reception direction of the lens
layer And a protective layer having a hardness higher than that of the lens layer.
[0037]
According to the present invention, since the surface layer has a uniform color and a wear
detection layer different in color from this, when the surface layer wears, the wear detection
layer different in color is exposed, and the operator wears It can be easily recognized by the
change in color.
In addition, since the lens layer is provided with a high hardness protective layer, abrasion can be
prevented.
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[0038]
The best mode for carrying out the ultrasound probe and the ultrasound imaging apparatus
according to the present invention will be described below with reference to the attached
drawings.
The present invention is not limited by this.
Embodiment 1
[0039]
First, the overall configuration of the ultrasonic imaging apparatus 100 according to the first
embodiment will be described.
FIG. 1 is a block diagram showing the entire configuration of the ultrasonic imaging apparatus
100 according to the first embodiment.
The ultrasound imaging apparatus 100 includes an ultrasound probe 1, a transmission /
reception unit 102, an image processing unit 103, a cine memory unit 104, an image display
control unit 105, a display unit 106, an input unit 107 and a control unit 108. Including.
[0040]
The ultrasonic probe 1 transmits ultrasonic waves to the subject 2 and receives reflected
ultrasonic waves from the subject 2.
There exist a linear type, a sector type, a convex type, a mechanical type, a mechanical type,
these mixed types etc. in an ultrasonic probe.
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Here, as an example, a case of using a sector type ultrasonic probe is shown.
The ultrasound probe 1 transmits an ultrasound wave to the imaging section of the subject 2 and
receives ultrasound echoes reflected from the inside of the subject 2 as time-series sound rays.
The ultrasound probe 1 performs scanning while sequentially switching the transmission /
reception direction spreading in a fan shape centering on the probe, and acquires tomographic
image information of the imaging cross section.
[0041]
The transmitting and receiving unit 102 is connected to the ultrasound probe 1 by a coaxial
cable (cable), and generates an electrical signal for driving the ultrasound probe 1.
The electrical signal forms a drive waveform for generating an ultrasonic wave, and a burst
waveform including a plurality of pulses is used.
The transmitting and receiving unit 102 also performs first-stage amplification of the received
ultrasonic echo signal.
[0042]
The image processing unit 103 performs reception signal processing, and generates B mode
image information and the like in real time from the ultrasonic echo signal amplified by the
transmission and reception unit 102.
Specific processing contents include delay addition processing of received ultrasonic echo
signals, A / D (analog / digital) conversion processing, and digital information after conversion as
B mode image information to be described later. There is a process of writing in the cine memory
unit 104 and the like.
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[0043]
The cine memory unit 104 is an image memory for storing B-mode image information and the
like generated by the image processing unit 103.
[0044]
The image display control unit 105 performs display frame rate conversion of B-mode image
information and the like generated by the image processing unit 103, and controls the shape and
position of an image displayed on the display unit 106.
[0045]
The display unit 106 displays a CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) or an LCD (image display unit) for
displaying image information whose display frame rate conversion and shape and position
control of image display are controlled by the image display control unit 105 to an operator. It
consists of Liquid Crystal Display etc.
[0046]
The input unit 107 transmits, to the control unit 108, an operation input signal by the operator,
for example, an operation input signal for selecting whether to perform scanning in the B mode
or scanning in other modes.
[0047]
The control unit 108 controls the operation of each part of the ultrasonic imaging apparatus
described above based on the operation input signal transmitted from the input unit 107 and a
program (program) or data (data) stored in advance.
[0048]
FIG. 2 is an external view showing the appearance of the sector type ultrasonic probe 1.
The ultrasound probe 1 includes an acoustic lens 10, a grip 11, a functional element 12 and a
connection cable 14.
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The acoustic lens 10 is illustrated in a state different from the actual state in which the functional
element unit 12 to be incorporated is partially exposed in order to facilitate understanding.
Further, the x, y, and z coordinates shown in the drawings are common to the x, y, and z
coordinates described in the subsequent drawings, and indicate the positional relationship
between the drawings.
[0049]
The acoustic lens 10 is provided on the side of the ultrasound probe 1 in contact with the subject
2, and efficiently causes the ultrasound generated by the functional element unit 12 to be
incident on the subject 2.
The acoustic lens 10 is generally formed of a soft material having an acoustic impedance that is
intermediate between the subject 2 and the functional element unit 12, such as rubber.
The acoustic lens 10 gives a preferable touch feeling to the subject 2, while being easily damaged
by contact with metal or solid.
In addition, the acoustic lens 10 may be damaged due to a drop on the floor surface of the
ultrasonic probe 1 or the like.
[0050]
The acoustic lens 10 has a convex lens shape at a portion in contact with the subject 2 and
converges the ultrasonic wave incident on the subject 2 in the thickness direction orthogonal to
the imaging cross section.
[0051]
The grasping portion 11 is grasped by the operator and brings the acoustic lens 10 into close
contact with the body surface of the subject 2.
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Inside the grip portion 11, a flexible print plate or the like for connecting the electrode portion of
the functional element portion 12 and the coaxial cable included in the connection cable 14 is
present.
[0052]
The connection cable 14 is a bundle of a plurality of coaxial cables, and electrically connects the
transmission / reception unit 102 and the functional element unit 12.
[0053]
The functional element unit 12 generates an ultrasonic wave and inputs the ultrasonic wave to
the subject 2, and at the same time receives an ultrasonic echo reflected inside the subject 2.
[0054]
FIG. 3 is an external view showing the appearance of the functional element unit 12.
The functional element portion 12 includes an acoustic matching layer 72, a piezoelectric
element plate 70, an acoustic absorbing material 71, and first and second electrode portions 73
and 74.
The piezoelectric element plate 70 has a rectangular parallelepiped shape made of PZT (lead
zirconate titanate) or the like, and is arranged in an array in a scanning direction in which fanshaped electronic scanning is performed.
[0055]
The acoustic matching layer 72 is mounted on the plate surface on the side of the subject 2 in
the transmission / reception direction in which transmission / reception of the piezoelectric
element plate 70 is performed.
The acoustic matching layer 72 has an acoustic impedance approximately midway between the
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piezoelectric element plate 70 and the acoustic lens 10 shown in FIG.
The acoustic matching layer 72 has a thickness of about 1⁄4 wavelength of the transmitted
ultrasonic wave in the transmission / reception direction of the subject 2 to suppress reflection at
the interface of different acoustic impedance.
Moreover, although the case where the acoustic matching layer was one layer was illustrated in
FIG. 3, it can also be two layers or multiple layers.
[0056]
The sound absorbing material 71 is mounted on the surface of the piezoelectric element plate 70
opposite to the transmitting and receiving direction in which the acoustic matching layer 72 is
present.
The sound absorbing material 71 absorbs ultrasonic waves generated from the plate surface of
the piezoelectric element plate 70 opposite to the subject 2.
[0057]
The first and second electrode portions 73 and 74 are made of sheet-like thin film metal
conductors, and apply an electrical signal from the transmitting and receiving unit 102 to the
piezoelectric element plate 70 to excite ultrasonic vibration.
The first and second electrode units 73 and 74 detect an electrical signal induced in the
piezoelectric element plate 70 by the ultrasonic echo reflected from the subject 2.
[0058]
FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view showing the xz-axis cross section of the acoustic lens 10 and the
functional element unit 12 shown in FIGS.
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The acoustic lens 10 includes a surface layer 41 and a wear detection layer 42.
The acoustic matching layer 72, the piezoelectric element plate 70 and the acoustic absorbing
material 71 are completely the same as those shown in FIG.
The first and second electrode portions 73 and 74 for driving the piezoelectric element plate 70
are not shown.
[0059]
The surface layer 41 and the wear detection layer 42 are formed using a similar material, for
example, a rubber material such as silicon rubber.
The surface layer 41 and the wear detection layer 42 collectively perform an acoustic operation
to focus ultrasonic waves in the thickness direction.
Here, the surface layer 41 and the wear detection layer 42 have different colors and change to
different colors at their interface 31.
For example, the surface layer 41 has gray and the wear detection layer 42 has red.
The thickness in the transmission / reception direction of the surface layer 41 is about several
hundreds μm, and has a uniform thickness over the entire contact surface.
This thickness is experimentally determined in consideration of the degree of deterioration of the
image quality, the use environment, and the like.
[0060]
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The ultrasound probe 1 has a completely similar cross section in the y-axis direction forming the
thickness direction, and the surface layer 41 covers the entire contact surface of the ultrasound
probe 1 in contact with the subject 2.
Therefore, the operator recognizes only gray rubber in the acoustic lens 10 when viewing the
ultrasonic probe 1.
[0061]
Next, the operation of the ultrasound probe 1 according to the first embodiment will be
described.
The operator applies gel to the acoustic lens 10 and brings the ultrasound probe 1 into close
contact with the subject 1 when starting imaging of the subject 2 in a hospital examination room
or the like.
Then, the operator performs imaging of the subject 2 and wipes off the gel attached to the
acoustic lens 10 using dust paper or the like after the imaging is completed.
[0062]
In the inspection room, in order to keep the inspection room hygienic, dust paper and the like are
often used which are made of hard fibrous pulp which hardly generates chips, dust and the like.
When these are pressed against the acoustic lens 10 made of rubber, they cause deterioration
such as scratches and dents.
[0063]
The acoustic lens 10 of the ultrasonic probe 1 may wear the gray surface layer 41 which is a
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contact surface with the subject 2 gradually by repeating this imaging action.
Since the surface layer 41 is a thin layer of about several hundred μm as shown in FIG. 4, when
abrasion occurs, the red abrasion detection layer 42 is exposed at the contact surface.
[0064]
FIG. 5 is an explanatory view schematically showing a state in which the surface layer 41 of the
acoustic lens 10 is worn and the wear detection layer 42 inside is exposed. In this state, the red
wear detection layer 42 is partially exposed in the gray surface layer 41. Here, the operator can
recognize a change in shape such as wear that has occurred on the contact surface of the surface
layer 41 as a change that can be easily grasped visually, which is called a change in color.
[0065]
In addition, deterioration such as wear and the like generated in the acoustic lens 10 is
accompanied by a shape change, but it is not easy for the operator to recognize the shape change
in the case of uniform wear and the like. This change in shape changes the acoustic
characteristics and thus causes deterioration of tomographic image information. Furthermore,
when the wear progresses and the functional element portion 12 is exposed, the contact between
the subject 1 and the electrically conductive portion is also caused, which is not preferable.
[0066]
As described above, in the first embodiment, since the acoustic lens 10 is made of the gray
surface layer 41 and the red wear detection layer 42 located therein, the acoustic lens 10 is
worn. In the case where the red wear detection layer 42 is exposed on the contact surface with
the subject 2 and the wear is manifested as a change that can be easily recognized visually by the
operator, and thus the acoustic lens 10 in which the wear occurs is used. To prevent
deterioration of tomographic image information or deterioration of safety.
[0067]
Further, in the first embodiment, the case where the surface layer 41 is worn is shown, but even
when a tear or the like is generated on the surface layer 41, the operator grasps the tear by the
color change in the same manner. can do.
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[0068]
In the first embodiment, although the surface layer 41 and the wear detection layer 42 are made
of materials having similar acoustic impedances, the wear detection layers can be provided even
when they have different acoustic impedances.
In this case, the arrangement of the wear detection layer in the acoustic lens is limited in order to
maintain the focusing effect of the ultrasonic wave, which is a function of the acoustic lens.
[0069]
FIG. 6 is an explanatory view showing the acoustic lens 20 in which the wear detection layer is
limitedly arranged.
FIG. 6A is a view showing a cross section of the ultrasonic probe 3 including the acoustic lens 20.
As shown in FIG. Acoustic lens 20 includes surface layer 43 and wear detection layer 44. The
acoustic lens 20 corresponds to the acoustic lens 10, and the other configuration of the
ultrasound probe 3 is completely the same as that of the ultrasound probe 1.
[0070]
The surface layer 43 is formed using rubber and performs an acoustic operation to focus
ultrasonic waves in the thickness direction. The surface layer 43 has the same structure in the yaxis direction as the cross section of FIG. 6A, covers all the contact surfaces in contact with the
subject 2, and omits the central portion of the acoustic matching layer 72. It covers the part. The
wear detection layer 44 is formed using, for example, a rubber harder than the surface layer 43,
and an interface extending to a short distance leaving only a central portion of the acoustic
matching layer 72 and leaving some surface layer 43 with the contact surface. It has 32.
[0071]
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Also, the surface layer 43 and the wear detection layer 44 have different colors. For example, the
surface layer 43 has a gray color and the wear detection layer 44 has a red color.
[0072]
FIG. 6 (B) is an external view showing the appearance of the case where the ultrasonic probe 3 is
repeatedly used for imaging the subject 2 and the acoustic lens 20 is worn. The wear detection
layer 44 is exposed at the central portion of the contact surface of the acoustic lens 20 with the
subject 2 and becomes red. Also, the peripheral portion of the contact surface is gray because it
remains as the surface layer 43 even if it wears. The operator easily recognizes wear by means of
the wear detection layer 44 exposed at the central portion.
[0073]
FIG. 7 is an explanatory view showing the acoustic lens 30 in which the wear detection layer is
limitedly arranged. FIG. 7A is a view showing a cross section of the ultrasonic probe 4 including
the acoustic lens 30. As shown in FIG. Acoustic lens 30 includes surface layer 45 and wear
detection layer 46. The acoustic lens 30 corresponds to the acoustic lens 10, and the other
configuration of the ultrasound probe 4 is completely the same as that of the ultrasound probe 1.
[0074]
The surface layer 45 is formed using a rubber material, and performs an acoustic operation to
converge ultrasonic waves in the thickness direction. The surface layer 45 has the same structure
in the y-axis direction as the cross section of FIG. 7A, covers all the contact surfaces in contact
with the subject 2, and saves the vicinity of the end of the acoustic matching layer 72. It covers
the part that was The wear detection layer 46 is formed using, for example, a rubber harder than
the surface layer 45, and the boundary extending to a close distance leaving some surface layer
45 with the contact surface only near the end of the acoustic matching layer 72 It has a face 33.
[0075]
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The wear detection layer 46 is formed using, for example, a rubber harder than the surface layer
45. The surface layer 45 and the wear detection layer 46 have different colors. For example, the
surface layer 45 has a gray color, and the wear detection layer 46 has a red color.
[0076]
FIG. 7B is an external view showing the appearance of the case where the ultrasonic probe 4 is
repeatedly used for imaging the subject 2 and the acoustic lens 20 is worn. In the contact surface
of the acoustic lens 30 with the subject 2, the wear detection layer 44 is exposed at the periphery
and becomes red. Also, the central portion of the contact surface is gray, which remains worn as
the surface layer 45. The operator easily recognizes the wear by the wear detection layer 46
exposed at the peripheral portion.
[0077]
FIG. 8 is an explanatory view showing an acoustic lens 40 in which the wear detection layer is
arranged in a letter shape with respect to the contact surface. Acoustic lens 40 includes surface
layer 47 and wear detection layer 48. The acoustic lens 40 corresponds to the acoustic lens 10,
and the other configuration of the ultrasonic probe 5 including the acoustic lens 40 is completely
the same as that of the ultrasonic probe 1. FIG. 8 shows a state in which the acoustic lens 40 is
worn and the wear detection layer 48 is exposed.
[0078]
The wear detection layer 48 is arranged to have a character shape, for example, an X shape, with
respect to the contact surface. Therefore, when the wear detection layer 48 is exposed due to the
wear of the surface layer 47, a red cross mark is exposed. Thereby, the operator recognizes wear
more clearly. In place of the crosses, character marks such as OUT OF ORDER may be used to
expose these character strings in red.
[0079]
Further, in the first embodiment, the acoustic matching layer 72 and the piezoelectric element
plate 70 have a flat plate-like structure, but the acoustic matching layer and the piezoelectric
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element plate have a concave structure, and the acoustic lens The contact surface with the
sample 2 can also be flat.
[0080]
FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional view of the ultrasonic probe 6 in which the contact surface with the
subject 2 is flat.
The ultrasonic probe 6 includes an acoustic lens 50, a holding unit 11, a functional element unit
13, and a connection cable 14. The functional element unit 13 includes an acoustic matching
layer 74, a piezoelectric element plate 73, an acoustic absorbing material 77, and not shown. The
acoustic lens 50 includes the surface layer 76 and the wear detection layer 75. Here, the grip
portion 11 and the connection cable 14 are completely the same as those shown in FIG.
[0081]
The piezoelectric element plate 73 has a plate-like structure which is concave on the side where
the subject 2 is located. The ultrasonic wave emitted from the piezoelectric element plate 73 to
the subject 2 is focused at a predetermined depth position according to the curvature of the
concave surface. The acoustic matching layer 74 has a concave structure in accordance with the
curvature of the piezoelectric element plate 73, and the wear detection layer 75 has a flat surface
on the side of the subject 2 and the acoustic matching layer 74 is engaged with the acoustic
matching layer 74. It has a matching concave shape. Further, the sound absorbing material 77
has a concave surface in the fitting surface with the piezoelectric element plate 73, and absorbs
the ultrasonic wave irradiated on the opposite side to the subject 2.
[0082]
The surface layer 76 is made of gray rubber, and the contact surface in contact with the subject 2
is flat. The surface layer 76 has a uniform thickness of about several hundreds of micrometers in
the direction from the contact surface to the acoustic matching layer 74.
[0083]
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The acoustic lens 50, just like the acoustic lens 10, exposes the red wear detection layer 75 by
the wear of the gray surface layer 76 so that the operator can easily recognize the wear. In
addition, since the contact surface with the subject 2 of the acoustic lens 50 is a plane, the
adhesiveness with the subject 2 is improved. Second Embodiment
[0084]
In the first embodiment, by providing the red wear detection layer 42 or the like inside the gray
surface layer 41, wear of the surface of the acoustic lens 10 is visually detected in a form that is
easily recognized. However, the acoustic lens can be provided with a protective layer to prevent
wear.
[0085]
FIG. 10 is a cross-sectional view of an ultrasonic probe 7 having an acoustic lens 62 provided
with a protective layer on the surface of the acoustic lens.
The ultrasound probe 7 includes an acoustic lens 62, a holding unit 11, a functional element unit
12, and a connection cable 14. The functional element unit 12 includes an acoustic matching
layer 72, a piezoelectric element plate 70, an acoustic absorbing material 71, and not shown. The
acoustic lens 62 includes a protective layer 82 and a lens layer 81. Here, the functional element
portion 12, the grip portion 11, and the connection cable 14 are completely the same as those
shown in FIG.
[0086]
The lens layer 81 is formed using rubber or the like, and converges the ultrasonic waves
irradiated to the subject 2 in the thickness direction. The protective layer 82 is provided on the
surface of the lens layer 81 in the direction of the subject 2 and is formed using a thin hard
material. For example, a film of polyimide (polyimde) or the like is used as this material. The
thickness of the film is set to several tens of μm or less, which makes the influence of ultrasonic
wave attenuation small. Polyimide is superior in chemical resistance and abrasion resistance as
compared to rubber, so that the rubber of lens layer 81 can be prevented from being worn out.
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[0087]
FIG. 1 is a block diagram showing an entire configuration of an ultrasonic imaging apparatus. It
is an external view which shows the structure of an ultrasound probe. It is a circuit diagram
showing composition of a functional element part of an ultrasonic probe. FIG. 1 is a crosssectional view showing a cross section of an ultrasound probe according to a first embodiment.
FIG. 3 is an explanatory view showing a state in which the surface of the ultrasonic probe
according to the first embodiment is worn away. They are sectional drawing which shows the
other example concerning the ultrasonic probe of Embodiment 1, and explanatory drawing which
shows the worn condition (the 1). They are sectional drawing which shows the other example
concerning the ultrasonic probe of Embodiment 1, and explanatory drawing which shows the
worn condition (the 2). 5 is an explanatory view showing a worn state of another example
according to the ultrasonic probe of the embodiment 1. FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view showing
another example of the ultrasonic probe according to Embodiment 1. FIG. FIG. 7 is a crosssectional view showing a cross section of an ultrasonic probe according to a second embodiment.
Explanation of sign
[0088]
1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 ultrasonic probe 2 object 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 62 acoustic lens 11 gripping portion
12, 13 functional element portion 14 connection cable 31, 32, 33 boundary Surface 41, 43, 45,
47, 76 Surface layer 42, 44, 46, 48, 75 Wear detection layer 70, 73 Piezoelectric element plate
71, 77 Sound absorbing material 72, 74 Sound matching layer 73, 74 Electrode part 81 Lens
layer 82 Protective layer 100 Ultrasonic imaging apparatus 102 Transmission / reception unit
103 Image processing unit 104 Cine memory unit 105 Image display control unit 106 Display
unit 107 Input unit 108 Control unit
14-04-2019
22
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