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DESCRIPTION JPH08280680

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DESCRIPTION JPH08280680
[0001]
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention The present invention relates to an
ultrasonic probe for use in an ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus for obtaining an ultrasonic image
by transmitting and receiving ultrasonic waves, and more particularly to an ultrasonic probe
capable of changing the focus position of an ultrasonic beam. About the child.
[0002]
2. Description of the Related Art Conventionally, an ultrasonic probe used in an ultrasonic
diagnostic apparatus has an ultrasonic transducer for generating an ultrasonic wave
corresponding to an electric signal, transmits an ultrasonic wave to a subject, and transmits it
from a living body. It receives the returned ultrasonic wave and generates a corresponding
electrical signal. An ultrasonic image of the inside of the subject is formed based on the delay
amount of the transmission and reception of the ultrasonic waves. At this time, in order to obtain
a clear ultrasonic image of the diagnosis unit, it is necessary to adjust the focus of the ultrasonic
wave emitted from the ultrasonic transducer to an optimum position (depth) with respect to the
diagnostic position of the object. .
[0003]
As a general focusing method, the ultrasonic beam is focused by the shape of the vibration plane
of the ultrasonic transducer, the shape of the acoustic lens provided on the ultrasonic transducer
through the acoustic matching layer, etc. The ultrasound beam is made to have directivity by
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causing so-called fixed focus to focus on different depths and causing each ultrasonic transducer
arranged in plural in the scanning direction to be slightly delayed to excite, so that it is
synthesized as a whole. Focusing the ultrasound beam to a desired depth, so-called electronic
focusing.
[0004]
The fixed focus is adapted to focus adjustment in the direction (X direction) orthogonal to the
scanning direction, that is, in the longitudinal direction of the strip-shaped ultrasonic transducer,
and the electronic focus is the array direction of the ultrasonic transducers (Y direction To focus
adjustment, and by using fixed focus or electronic focus alone or by combining both, focus
adjustment suitable for a desired diagnostic position is performed in advance and sharp
ultrasonic waves are applied. I was getting an image.
[0005]
However, the conventional ultrasonic probe has high resolution because the focus adjustment in
the X direction of the ultrasonic transducer is an inherent fixed focus determined by the shape of
the acoustic lens. There is a problem that the range in which a clear ultrasonic image can be
obtained is limited, and the diagnostic position is limited by the ultrasonic probe.
Also, focus adjustment of the ultrasonic transducer in the Y direction can be focused at any depth
by selecting the delay time of the delay circuit when using electronic focus, and focus adjustment
can be performed, As described above, since the focus in the X direction has been fixed by the
fixed focus, the range in which the optimum focus can be performed as a result is limited by the
focus in the X direction, and the diagnostic position is limited by the ultrasonic probe. I will.
[0006]
Furthermore, since there is a limit to the deflection angle of the ultrasonic wave both in the case
of fixed focus and in the case of electronic focus, focusing can not be performed at a position
extremely close to the ultrasonic wave emitting surface of the ultrasonic transducer. It was
difficult to obtain an ultrasound image of a shallow portion clearly.
[0007]
For this reason, a water bag or the like filled with an acoustic matching agent is interposed
between the subject and the ultrasonic probe, and the thickness of the water bag is adjusted to
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forcibly bring the object to a desired depth of focus. While it takes time and effort to adjust the
thickness of the water bag, and the presence of the water bag, it is difficult to calculate the actual
distance from the surface of the subject to the diagnosis position. Yes, there was a problem of
reducing the reliability of the diagnosis.
[0008]
The present invention has been made to solve the above-mentioned problems, and an ultrasonic
probe capable of obtaining a clear ultrasonic image in which the focus position of the ultrasonic
probe can be set easily and accurately. Intended to provide children.
[0009]
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In order to achieve the above object, an ultrasonic probe
according to claim 1 has a contact surface which can be brought into contact with a subject, and
an ultrasonic matching material enclosed in the inside. A transducer unit including a stylus case,
a plurality of ultrasonic transducers, and a predetermined focus that can slide in the near
direction with respect to the object inside the probe case, and the transducer unit in the near
direction And an up-and-down drive mechanism for sliding the ultrasonic transducer to change
the focus position of the ultrasonic transducer.
[0010]
The ultrasonic probe according to claim 2 is the ultrasonic probe according to claim 1, further
comprising: a movement amount detection unit for detecting the movement amount of the
ultrasonic transducer in the far and near directions; And a depth calculation unit that calculates
the depth from the object surface to the diagnosis unit based on the detection result of the
detection unit.
[0011]
Furthermore, in the ultrasonic probe according to claim 3, in the ultrasonic probe according to
claim 1 or 2, the driving amount and the driving direction of the vertical drive mechanism are set
in the vicinity of the holding portion of the transducer case. A control switch for controlling is
provided.
[0012]
According to the ultrasonic probe of the present invention, in the probe case filled with the
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ultrasonic matching material, a transducer unit having a plurality of ultrasonic transducers and
having a predetermined focus is: The upper and lower drive mechanisms are provided slidably in
the near and far directions with respect to the subject.
Therefore, the relative distance between the ultrasonic radiation surface of the ultrasonic
transducer and the subject can be arbitrarily selected, and the focus position can be easily
adjusted to the desired diagnostic position.
[0013]
Further, according to the ultrasonic probe of the second aspect, the movement amount detection
unit for detecting the movement amount of the ultrasonic transducer in the far and near
direction is included, and the depth calculation unit is from the object surface based on the
detection result. Since the depth to the diagnosis unit is calculated, the diagnosis position can be
easily recognized.
[0014]
Furthermore, according to the ultrasonic probe of claim 3, since the control switch for controlling
the drive amount and the drive direction of the vertical drive mechanism is provided in the
vicinity of the grip portion of the vibrator case, the adjustment of the focus position is performed.
Can be done easily.
[0015]
An embodiment of the present invention will be described below with reference to the drawings.
[0016]
FIG. 1 is a schematic cross-sectional view showing the internal structure of an ultrasound probe
10 according to the present invention.
[0017]
The ultrasonic probe 10 comprises a transducer unit 12 including a plurality of ultrasonic
transducers, a transducer case 16 having the transducer unit 12 built in the internal space 14,
and an ultrasonic transmission film or the like on the lower surface. Sealed cover having a main
body case 16a having an acoustic window 15 serving as a contact surface capable of contacting
an object, and a seal member for preventing leakage of ultrasonic matching material such as
distilled water injected into the internal space of the main body case 16a A cable case 16c and
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the like perform connection and protection of a power cord connected to the ultrasonic
diagnostic apparatus side (not shown) and the cable 18 of the signal line 17 and the like.
[0018]
The characteristic feature of the present invention is that radiation from the transducer unit 12 is
caused by the transducer unit 12 moving in the vertical direction in FIG. The point at which the
focus position of the ultrasound to be generated can be apparently changed with respect to the
subject 20.
[0019]
As is well known, the configuration of the ultrasonic radiation unit of the transducer unit 12 has
a laminated structure of a plurality of strip-like ultrasonic transducers on the bottom side and a
wedge-like acoustic lens via an ultrasonic matching layer. ing.
Therefore, the focus in the longitudinal direction of each ultrasonic transducer (Y direction:
vertical direction in FIG. 1) is determined by the fixed focus based on the shape of the acoustic
lens, and the alignment direction of the ultrasonic transducers (X direction: FIG. 1) The focus in
the middle and left directions is determined by electronic focus by a delay circuit (not shown).
At this time, the focus by the fixed focus and the electronic focus match, and the focus position f1
shown in FIG. 1 is set.
The vibrator unit 12 is held by a movable base 24 guided by a guide member 22 such as a guide
rail or a guide bar provided in the vertical direction (Z direction) in FIG.
Further, a nut portion 30 engageable with a rod-like screw 28 rotatable by a motor 26 such as a
pulse motor is fixed to the moving table 24.
Therefore, the rod-shaped screw 28 is rotated by the drive of the motor 26, and the vibrator unit
12 can be moved in the vertical direction (Z direction) together with the movable table 24.
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That is, the guide member 22, the motor 26, the rod-shaped screw 28, the nut portion 30 and the
like constitute a vertical drive mechanism.
[0020]
Therefore, by controlling the drive amount of the motor 26, as shown in FIG. 2, the focus position
is arbitrarily moved between the deep portion (focus position f1) and the shallow portion (focus
position f2) of the subject 20. Can.
[0021]
That is, in a state in which the X direction and the Y direction are optimally in focus, ultrasonic
irradiation can be performed optimally for the desired diagnostic position (desired depth) of the
subject 20, and a clear ultrasonic image with high resolution can be obtained. be able to.
In addition, it is possible to easily move the focus position to a very shallow portion where
focusing was difficult, and it is not necessary to use an adjustment member such as a water bag,
and the diagnostic efficiency of ultrasonic diagnosis is improved. Can.
[0022]
Furthermore, a movement amount detection unit 32 such as an encoder for detecting the
movement amount of the movable table 24 is provided, and the distance from the ultrasonic
radiation surface to the object surface is calculated based on the detection result to diagnose
from the object surface The actual distance to the position can be easily calculated.
Specifically, as shown in FIG. 1, a rotary encoder is connected to the motor 26 as the movement
amount detection unit 32, and the rotation amount of the motor 26 is measured by the counter
circuit 34 as shown in FIG. The calculation circuit 36 calculates the distance S1 the transducer
unit 12 has moved from the lowest point position (the position shown by the two-dot chain line
in FIG. 2) of the transducer unit 12 and calculates this distance S1 with the known transducer
unit 12 The correction value resulting from the up and down movement of the transducer unit
12 is calculated from the distance S2 from the lowest point position of the sensor to the surface
of the acoustic window 15.
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The depth calculating unit 37 calculates each correction unit calculated based on the distance at
which the calculated correction value is output from the ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus 38, that
is, the delay amount of transmission and reception of the ultrasonic wave (such as an organ
displayed as an ultrasonic image) The distance from the actual surface of the subject 20 to the
diagnostic position is displayed on the display unit 40 by subtracting from the measured
distances up to each point).
Thus, even if the transducer unit 12 moves arbitrarily, the distance to the actual diagnostic
position can be easily displayed.
[0023]
In addition, a control switch 42 for controlling the amount of rotation and the direction of
rotation of the motor 26 is preferably provided on the side surface of the vibrator case 16,
preferably in the vicinity of the grip portion. By providing such a push switch, it is possible to
perform optimal focus adjustment for a desired diagnostic position while making a diagnosis.
[0024]
In this embodiment, an example using a pulse motor as a drive source of the vertical drive
mechanism and a rod screw as a transmission mechanism has been described, but the invention
is not limited thereto. For example, a cylinder, a piezoelectric element as a drive source, and a
transmission mechanism The same effect can be obtained even if the vertical drive mechanism is
configured using a gear mechanism, a link mechanism or the like.
[0025]
Further, although the present embodiment has been described using the rotary encoder in which
the movement amount detection unit is attached to the pulse motor, the same effect can be
obtained even if the linear encoder is disposed on the moving table.
[0026]
Furthermore, the configuration in which the transducer unit is moved in the near direction
(vertical direction) with respect to the subject is also applicable to a probe that performs linear
scanning, sector scanning, convex scanning, and the like.
[0027]
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As described above, according to the ultrasonic diagnostic probe of the present invention, the
transducer unit having a predetermined focus is in the near direction with respect to the object
by the vertical drive mechanism in the transducer case. Since the relative distance between the
ultrasonic radiation surface of the ultrasonic transducer and the object can be arbitrarily
selected, the focus position can be adjusted to the desired diagnostic position.
Therefore, a clear ultrasonic image with high resolution can be easily obtained in a wide range
from the shallow part to the deep part of the subject.
[0028]
Further, according to the ultrasonic diagnostic probe of the present invention, the ultrasonic
diagnostic probe includes a movement amount detection unit that detects the movement amount
of the transducer unit in the near and far directions, and the depth calculation unit extends from
the object surface to the diagnosis unit based on the detection result. Since the depth of is
calculated, the diagnostic position can be easily recognized.
Furthermore, since the control switch for controlling the drive amount and drive direction of the
vertical drive mechanism is provided in the vicinity of the grip portion of the vibrator case, the
focus position can be easily adjusted even during diagnosis. A sound wave image can be obtained
clearly.
[0029]
Brief description of the drawings
[0030]
1 is a schematic cross-sectional view of an ultrasound probe according to the present invention.
[0031]
FIG. 2 is an explanatory view for explaining the movement of the focus position of the ultrasound
probe according to the present invention.
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[0032]
FIG. 3 is a block diagram for explaining the calculation of the correction amount caused by the
movement of the transducer unit of the ultrasound probe according to the present invention.
[0033]
Explanation of sign
[0034]
DESCRIPTION OF REFERENCE NUMERALS 10 ultrasonic probe, 12 transducer unit, 16
transducer case, 20 object, 22 guide member, 24 moving base, 26 motor, 28 rod screw, 30 nut
portion, 32 moving amount detecting portion, 37 depth calculating portion , 42 control switch.
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