The GE Logiq S7 Vet Expert R2 is the latest in veterinary ultrasound imaging and is on par with human ultrasound technology. I am thrilled by the imaging capabilities of this machine and I am extremely excited to use this technology at Sunstone Vet Specialists. Ultrasound technology has advanced by leaps and bounds in our lifetime. Similar to computers, these machines have gone from large bulky machines with relatively simple capabilities to sleek and light weight machines with greater and more robust abilities. I had the opportunity to use this machine at the Sound Imaging Academy a few months before our opening and my jaw dropped by the images produced. The S7 -R2 is not simply a step forward; it is leaps and bounds ahead of other machines I have used.
I describe ultrasound imaging as looking through a dark room with a slit beam flashlight. However, there is an added feature that few realize. As sound is generated and received it also has to be interpreted by the electronics of the machine. For simple imaging this has been well established for years. In the past 5 to 10 years, advancements have included multiple focal points, multiple sound generation points and multiple frequency generation. Generating sound at more than one point can be thought of as having more than one beam or bulb on your flashlight. Different frequencies of sound can be thought of as different brightness’s of light. Most ultrasounds these days can do each of these things. But imagine what happens when you ask a machine to do more than one of these things. Older machines will bog down and produce a less than ideal image. The new S7 – R2 can handle all of these things simultaneously at real time speeds producing beautiful, detailed images.
The S7-R2 is able to visualize structures as small as approximately 3mm. I can see normal lymph nodes and normal pancreatic tissue, which historically blended in to the background. This machine also came with a new feature called tissue elastography. This is an imaging capability that gives an assessment of the “stiffness” of a tissue. As we age, tissues change and older dogs often have benign small nodules. There are a population of these older dogs and cats that have small nodules (1-3 cm) and we have been unable to answer if these nodules are normal or abnormal without an invasive biopsy. In human medicine, elastography is well established as showing that a tissue that has greater stiffness is more likely to be abnormal (needing medical care or biopsy). Normal tissue stiffness (by tissue elastography) does not encourage biopsy. These associations in veterinary medicine are still being researched and worked out, but I am hopeful that these associations can be validated making this a very exciting tool for me to have.
The S7-R2 also has several capabilities in evaluating heart muscle function including “strain” evaluations. Overall, I am excited to have this non-invasive pain free tool to help understand what is going on with my patients. This machine was a significant investment for our new company, but I feel that investing in our future is the best thing I can do for my patients and their families.