Although high-resolution mammography can detect microcalcifications really well, ultrasound is vital for differentiation in the case of solid focal findings. ‘Particularly In the case of smooth-edged, round lesions, mammography shows us that there is something there, but it doesn’t help us differentiate between a cyst or a fibroadenoma, for example. That’s why we need ultrasound.’ When a new ultrasound scanner for the practice was chosen, the innovative strength of the equipment was as important as financing and cost. ‘We were looking for a scanner that’s really good value for money and provides a good B-scan image and Doppler quality. We chose Alpinion’s E-Cube 9,’ explains Dr Adamietz, who had experienced high-end equipment at the University Hospital. ‘The E-Cube 9 has features that other manufacturers only provide in scanners of higher quality. Alpinion’s ultrasound solution is very comfortable, particularly regarding workflow and operational controls, and it can be integrated into the PACS without problems. The single crystal transducer also makes a big contribution towards user friendliness.’
Single-Crystal Technology developed by Alpinion offers higher energy conversion than the conventional piezo element. It achieves more uniform images and a significantly higher sensitivity. Alpinion’s 4-D Single Crystal Transducers are not only much lighter than those in conventional scanners, but the use of single-crystal materials also facilitates very large bandwidths, which guarantee higher image resolution and outstanding image quality. ‘Alpinion is the first company worldwide to offer this high frequency transducer, which now obviously puts pressure on other manufacturers who have so far not moved beyond 18 MHz transducers.
Overall, we can certainly say that Alpinion has succeeded in bordering on the standards of high-end machines, but at a far more reasonable cost, so that doctors in private practice and smaller hospitals can benefit significantly from this innovation,’ Dr Adamietz points out. Integrated gel warmers, micro pin-less transducer connectors and sliding port covers over the probe connections are also small, but important details that reduce the user’s workload.
The radiologist is now anticipating the coming year when new software solutions will also make the E-Cube 9 suitable for elastography -- a fine method to observe the observation ofpatients undergoing neo-adjuvant therapy. ‘You not only see how the tumour changes in size but also its elasticity,’ he explains, adding that he is currently writing his habilitation thesis on Elastography for breast cancer. ‘Elastography is the better technology for the sizing of lobular carcinoma and also for chest wall infiltrations. This examination procedure will soon also be possible with the E-Cube 9, so our decision for the Alpinion scanner has turned up trumps -- we have found a powerful scanner that utilises all types of ultrasound examination in breast diagnostics in the best possible way.’