Imaging & MSK
General Imaging or GI applications typically emphasize 2D imaging for abdominal internal organs but also any scans a radiologist might require such as musculoskeletal or small parts. Heavy emphasis is on 2D images from the convex and linear probes. Reliability and workflow efficiency are important because typically general imaging systems do large volumes of scans each day. The Best high-end General Imaging ultrasound systems are the GE Logiq E9 and the Philips iU22. Both the iU22 and Logiq E9 are very versatile and can reliably offer full 4D or cardiac imaging if required. Both offer the best 2D image quality currently available. The iU22 is being replaced by the Epiq 5 but will remain kpi’s choice as the top value because the price to power ratio is currently better. The differences between the two machines are primarily due to the workflow, whether you are more comfortable in the GE or the Philips environment. The iU22 has a slight edge in cardiac imaging, and the Logiq E9 a larger edge in 4D imaging. KPI rates GE Logiq E9, and the Philips iU22 at top of the “BEST” or high-end GI ultrasound segment.
The “better” general imaging ultrasound systems have mid-level pricing but image quality nearly as good as the high-end models. Probe quality counts for more than depth of features in this segment. The Philips HD15 masters this approach by offering the same PureWave single crystal probes used by the more expensive iU22, but losing some of the iU22’s feature set to lower costs. The HD15 will see final production in 2014, and will be replaced by the Affiniti 70, however even as a refurbished system the HD15 will continue to be a top pick for general imaging especially with its high reliability over time. The Siemens X300 premium is an excellent value as a mid-range system with full cardiac and 4D capabilities if needed. The X300 does not have probes with the single crystal design but is much less expensive than the HD15 when both are new. KPI considers both the Philips HD15 and the Siemens X300 premium as currently offering the best bang for the buck among mid-range general imaging ultrasound systems.
Entry level GI ultrasound machines need to emphasize reliability and low cost over features, but as general imaging occasionally requires a radiologist to perform a cardiac or 4D OB scan, having these options is a plus. The GE Logiq P5 premium is a solid 2D imager with a history of reliability and smooth workflow. It has the option to add a 4D convex probe with GE levels of 4D detail, or CW doppler and ECG for cardiac scans. Certainly there are cheaper models than the P5 premium but the small extra cost delivers a much better experience and value over time. The Alpinion Ecube 7 is from a new brand and has excellent 2D image quality produced by very high quality probes. Alpinion began as a probe manufacturer and the result is midrange image quality on a system at entry level prices. Like the P5 premium, the Ecube offers a 4D convex probe as an option, though it does not offer CW doppler. Alpinion’s workflow is similar to Medison’s and is far smoother than other cheaper brands that match its specs. In a side by side scanning test the Ecube compares well with other premium economy ultrasound systems like the GE Logiq P5 premium, Siemens X300, and Philips ClearVue 550. In the collective opinion of the experts at kpi both the GE Logiq P5 premium and the Alpinion Ecube 7 currently offer the best price to performance ratio in the”GOOD” or entry-level general imaging segment.
Portable general imaging ultrasound systems are ubiquitous, but these 3 stand out as providing console-like image quality and features in a laptop sized form rather than more bulky portables. The Philips CX50 remains the most advanced portable ultrasound system in every category but 4D. It does offer freehand 3D, but its real strength beyond general imaging is the excellent cardiac functionality and the quality of the single crystal probes. These and the powerful Q-lab analytics set make it kpi’s top rated high-end portable ultrasound system for general imaging. The GE Logiq-e offers the midrange MSK and small parts image quality outside of the CX50 and at a nearly entry-level price. The Logiq-e has very good 2D image quality and a wide array of probe combined with the smooth GE workflow and optional CW Doppler plus a long history of reliability. The Samsung Medison Mysono U6 was launched as a midrange portable but if purchased as a refurbished unit it can be had for entry level prices and offers both CW Doppler and a 4D convex probe as options that expand its possible applications. KPI recommends the Philips CX50, the GE Logiq-e and the Samsung Medison U6 as the top values in high-end, mid-range and economy GI portable ultrasound systems.