What makes the EPISCAN different than conventional ultrasound systems?
The EPISCAN uses ultrasound with a frequency of up to 50MHz, while most conventional ultrasound system uses ultrasound in the region 5 to 10MHz. Our use of higher frequency ultrasound gives rise to greater resolution. Further, the EPISCAN uses much broader bandwidth ultrasound than conventional systems, meaning the transmitted energy pulse is a single cycle while most other systems transmit several pulses. These factors allow us to see features as small as hair follicles and their associated arrector pili muscle, as illustrated below.
However, the very high frequency ultrasound used cannot penetrate deep into the body and is used only to image down to about 20mm and with the highest resolution probes even less, while the lower resolution ultrasound system can image much deeper.
What Can I Image with the EPISCAN?
The EPISCAN can image the skin and underlying soft tissue down to a depth of about 20millimetrs all over the body. It can visualize different layers of the skin, the underlying subcutaneous tissue (fat), blood vessels, nerves, tendons and ligaments and superficial muscle structure, plus the impact of diseases and injuries that impact this region.
How Does HRUS Images Compare with Biopsy Data?
Histology created from biopsies is the current gold standard that every imaging modality is referenced to. For life threatening conditions such as cancers it remains virtually the only accepted diagnostic modality. However, biopsies are tissue damaging, often leaving scars, can frequently not be repeated on the same feature, are expensive and often the analysis takes time. HRUS, by comparison is not tissue damaging, can be repeated on the same feature to monitor the effect of treatments for example, is inexpensive, and yields immediate data.
For conditions such as skin cancers, while HRUS is not used to diagnose the lesion it does yield valuable data on the margins of the lesion including the depth which can be used in surgical planning and monitor the effectiveness of interventions like PDT and radiation therapy. For chronic wounds, biopsies are often not utilized as the patient already has compromised healing and you don't want to create a new injury, often leaving the clinician with just visual assessment at their disposal. The EPISCAN can yield data normally only obtained from a biopsy without causing a wound. Similarly in the world of aesthetics, nobody paying for a skin rejuvenation program will want to be scarred to confirm that their collagen density is increasing.
Importantly, clinicians that are used to looking at histology, for example dermatologists, can immediately start to interpret the EPISCAN images because they are so similar. It has been said the EPISCAN images are like non invasive biopsies.
Who Uses the EPISCAN?
The EPISCAN has been designed as a point of care imaging system, meaning it is most commonly used by the clinician that is seeking the data or somebody under their instruction, rather than being in for example the radiology department.
In long-term care where the EPISCAN is used in wound prevention and assessment, the system is used by nursing staff with a facility approved procedure.
How Are People Trained to Use the EPISCAN?
Longport provides onsite training to customers on the use of the EPISCAN and the interpretation of images. These courses take one or two days, dependent upon the application and number of people looking to get trained.
Additional support packages can be also be provided.
How are Images Saved and Can they be Transferred?
EPISCAN images are digital and are normally initially saved onto the hard disc of the EPISCAN which can hold approximately 70,000 images or if the EPISCAN is networked directly onto a server. The saved images can be subsequently opened for review or to perform analysis, measurements can be added and if required then saved with the image.
Images can be transferred using various networking options, by writing to a DVD or CD or using a USB connection and an external device. They can also be viewed on a separate PC or laptop running Longport's software.
Images can also be imported into Word, PowerPoint, and other programs.
How is the EPISCAN Supported after the Sale?
Longport recommends customers take our optional onsite training and offer ongoing customer support via telephone, email and video. We also offer customer specific support packages when requested. Longport takes pride in the efficient response time to customer questions.
Fault-finding measures are included in the standard onsite training. If a user of the EPISCAN encounters a problem that cannot be addressed by remote support, we will request that the system or affected part is returned to Longport. Normally, we expect to identify and correct the problem within 48 hours of receipt. The loan of a system can also be arranged.