MIT researchers have developed a wearable ultrasound patch that can image organs, including the bladder, without the need for cold gel or an operator. Unlike traditional ultrasounds that require patients to lie on a table, this conformable ultrasound bladder patch (cUSB-Patch) is a flexible silicone rubber patch embedded with five ultrasound arrays made from a new piezoelectric material. The material, a samarium/lanthanum-doped combination of lead magnesium niobate and lead titanate ceramics, allows for a large field of view. The patch adheres gently to the skin and can accurately measure bladder volume without the need for pressure or gel.

The researchers tested the ability of the cUSB-Patch to measure bladder volume, using it on 20 patients aged 18 to 64 with a range of BMIs. Patients were first imaged with a full bladder, then a partially emptied bladder and a completely empty bladder. Images from the cUSB-Patch were comparable to those taken with a conventional ultrasound probe and worked on all patients, regardless of their BMI.

The researchers envision adapting the technology to image other internal organs, such as the pancreas, liver, or ovaries offering a versatile and non-invasive method for disease monitoring. They are also working on a portable device for viewing the ultrasound images.

Article written by Paul McClure



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