Ultrasound: medical imaging and beyond (an invited review)

Curr Pharm Biotechnol. 2012 Sep;13(11):2104-16. doi: 10.2174/138920112802502033.


Medical applications of ultrasound were first investigated about seventy years ago. It has rapidly evolved since then, becoming an essential tool in medical imaging. Ultrasound ability to provide real time images with frame rates exceeding several hundred frames per second allows one to view rapid anatomical changes as well as to guide minimal invasive procedures. By, combining Doppler techniques with anatomical images ultrasound provides real time quantitative flow information as well. It is portable, versatile, cost effective and considered sufficiently hazardless to monitor pregnancy. Moreover, ultrasound has the unique capacity to offer therapeutic capabilities in addition to its outstanding imaging abilities. It can be used for physiotherapy, lithotripsy, and thermal ablation, and recent studies have demonstrated its usefulness in drug delivery, gene therapy and molecular imaging. The purpose of this article is to provide an introductory review of the field covering briefly topics from basic physics through current imaging methods to therapeutic applications.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acoustics
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Molecular Imaging
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Ultrasonic Therapy
  • Ultrasonography*