At the Norwegian national convention for anaesthesia and intensive care, I saw this very interesting prototype from the Ezono ultrasound company. It uses magnetic field interference to track the position of a standard metal needle. So you get needle guides on screen that shows you the needle track, updated live to show any movement of the needle or probe. It seemed to work flawlessly, being very accurate and responsive. This is the first exciting ultrasound news I’ve seen in years!

Perfect guide and training tool
Out-of-plane, you get a target box where the needle will cross the probe plane together with guide lines showing how far you are from the probe plane. The target box goes from red to green as the tip of the needle gets into the probe plane.

In-plane, you get guide lines showing the forward needle track, but also a guide next to the actual ultrasound image. This small guide shows the relation of the probe to the needle, if your needle is to the left or right of the probe, and if they’re alligned or at an angle to each other. You can see it in the in-plane video below, as a small red line between two green points. The line turns green when it’s aligned.

There were lots of evolution type products at the convention, but only one – this one – that showed a really new and useful technology. Unfortunately, I’m not affiliated with these guys in any way.

This technology by Ezono would be great in doing nerve blocks or vascular access quicker and safer. It makes it quick and easy to switch between out of plane and in plane views during a procedure. It is a also a great teaching tool, helping you improve hand/hand/eye co-ordination. I want one.

Two quick and dirty demo videos I shot at the convention:

Needle guide out-of-plane.

Needle guide in-plane.

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  1. minh le cong says:

    that is pretty cool, mate!
    so is this tracking function built into one of their company devices?
    in other words, you need to buy one of their ultrasounds to use it?
    the device on the video looks does it compare to something like a Sonosite nanomaxx or Micromaxx?

    • Thomas D says:

      It was very cool! And useful. The tracking function is built into the probe as a magnetic field and sensor, and in the device as the software interpreting the field changes. So, yes, you need to buy their scanner to get the tracking. But you can use any needle as long as it’s metal and magnetic, as most needles are.
      The scanner is portable, slightly larger than a nanomaxx (but also with a slightly larger display). I think it would be great to have at least one of these in our dept.

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