ISUOG’s Safety Committee aims to encourage and promote the highest possible safety standards within the field of ultrasound in obstetrics and gynecology. To this end, in 2012, the Safety Committee, with the approval of ISUOG’s Board of Trustees, commissioned the production of an ultrasound safety phantom that would assess the Thermal Index of ultrasound equipment in an automated fashion.

The phantom will allow for temperature measurements to be recorded at specific distances from the surface of the transducer while being operated in clinically relevant settings and on different ultrasound equipment. It will be able to detect probe power output, measure probe surface heating, and measure heating effect (TI) and pressure at solid/liquid/bone interfaces based on different ultrasound modes (B, CF and Doppler), presets and depths.

The ISUOG ultrasound safety phantom connected to an ultrasound system

Continued research and collaboration between March and October 2012 resulted in delivery in November 2012 to Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge, where it is undergoing testing and calibration. The Phantom was manufactured to the design of the ISUOG Safety Committee’s Phantom Working Group at the National Physics Laboratories, London, UK, by Adam Shaw and his team.

From left to right: Richard Axell, Adam Shaw and Christoph Lees

The ISUOG Phantom Working Group and partner institutions

The Phantom Working Group is comprised of Gail ter Haar, Christoph Lees, Adam Shaw and Richard Axell.

This is a joint project between ISUOG, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), and the National Physics Laboratory (NPL).

About the ISUOG ultrasound safety phantom

The phantom has been designed for use with different ultrasound machine and probe combinations that are commonly used in routine obstetric ultrasound examinations and to assess the different power and heat effect of these various combinations. The phantom has the functionality to do the following:

  1. Detect probe power output.
  2. Measure probe surface heating.
  3. Measure heating effect and pressure at solid/liquid/bone interfaces based on different ultrasound modes (B, CF and Doppler), presets and depths.

The Phantom allows detection of temperature changes both at the probe/surface interface, and deep at a simulated bone/soft tissue interface using inlaid thermocouples and hydrophones. The phantom’s temperature is kept at a steady state by water circulation. 

Standard Operating Procedures for measurement are currently being developed by the Phantom Working Group.

ISUOG Ultrasound Safety Phantom concept design

Presentation of data and findings

It is anticipated that data should start becoming available in January 2013. Formal research and abstract submission to the 2013 ISUOG World Congress is anticipated, with a possible demonstration at Sydney 2013.

ISUOG and its Safety Committee welcome ultrasound manufacturers to participate in this research and development of the phantom.

Ultrasound image of the phantom.