Basics of an ultrasound machine

Ultrasound machines are made up of the same basic components:

  • Base ultrasound machine/console (the electronics of the machine)
  • Probe/transducer (part used to scan the animal)
  • Monitor/viewing device (where you see the image)
  • Power source for the unit (batteries or mains electricity)

Ultrasound machines will differ based on the features that they offer. Some features may include freezing an image, storing an image, standby mode to save battery power, ergonomic design, water and dust resistance, multiple operating modes, among many other features. They will also come in a variety of weights and sizes.

There are many different types of probes. Two of the most common are linear and sector.


Linear probes

  • Crystals aligned along the scanning surface (‘footprint’) of a rectangular probe head
  • Produces a rectangular image
  • Creates more distinction (better resolution) between tissues closer to the probe
  • Most function at multiple frequencies to enable the quality of your ultrasound image to be optimized when scanning tissues at varying depths
  • Used internally (transrectally) and externally (on the body wall/skin surface)


Ultrasound rectal probe


Sector probes

  • Crystals are situated along the length of the curved scanning surface (‘footprint’) and are stimulated sequentially in groups
  • Creates a pie or wedge shaped image
  • Provides an ultrasound image with a wider field of view compared to the image obtained using a linear probe
  • Primarily used externally, however some sector probes may also be used transrectally

Graphic of a cow showing coverage of the Duo-Scan ultrasound probe

There are a variety of options for viewing the ultrasound image; stand-alone monitors, wrist monitors and goggles.

We have used our Easi-Scan bovine ultrasound machine as an example below.

Easi-Scan bovine ultrasound scanner with BUG sketchEasi-Scan bovine ultrasound scanner with BUG goggles


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