editor.jpg (9946 bytes)Ultrasound’s defining grace goes on and on hen you are defining grace, ultrasound is not something that typically comes to mind. Yet, ultrasound has many graces. Its applications are wide, stretching from just after conception to within hours of death and nearly everywhere in between. It is a fixture in imaging fetuses, skulls, hearts, kidneys, livers, the abdomen, the vascular system and more recently has earned itself a spot in imaging the musculoskeletal system. Ultrasound helps guide more accurate surgery, and mobile units, some under 10 pounds, can be moved to patients in remote areas of the world or to the sickest patients in ICU. Its costs are affordable for the many and reimbursement is healthy enough to make it easily accessible to facilities large and small across the globe, not just around the corner.

Among ultrasound’s technical graces are its real-time capabilities, high-resolution images, ability to visualize blood flow, lack of radiation, patient comfort, flexibility and affordability. Its quickness and ease of use even have supplanted some CT and MRI procedures. Ultrasound is gaining dimension, too, with 3D and 4D applications proving themselves as valuable clinical tools in areas such as imaging fetal brain malformations, limb and skeletal abnormalities and facial defects, as well as identifying gynecological abnormalities and facilitating less invasive breast surgeries. Unique views not possible with 2D shine in 3D, while views can be reconfigured, rotated in space and fine tuned long after the patient has gone home. Future applications of this technology could stretch to imaging the brain and fetal heart, among many others.

This month, our special section highlights ultrasound in all its wonder. While the topics could have gone on and on, we’ve included stories on 3D ultrasound, pediatric imaging and ultrasound in the OR. “Imaging the Prostate” also touts ultrasound’s merits in seeking to identify and stage the second most deadly cancer in men, prostate cancer. Some 198,100 new cases will be identified this year and an estimated 31,500 will die of the disease.

We’ve stopped there simply because we’ve filled up the pages of the special section. But this topic could stretch on and on. So grab your favorite chair and dig in.

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As an aside, when I read the riddle in the introduction to Marie Marchese’s “CR in All Its Practicality” — So what do Disney, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes and computed radiography have in common? — all I could think was “how ironic.”

While the real answer Marie was driving at was Florida Hospital Celebration Health, there’s some irony for me around that riddle. Sure, I’m a Disney fan and have visited Orlando and Anaheim many times. And CR helped to diagnose my broken ankle a few years ago. But I’m probably one of the few people who owe their existence to Kellogg’s breakfast cereal. You see, 48 years ago, my Mom and Dad met when my Mom was a tour guide at the Kellogg’s factory in her hometown of Battle Creek, Mich., and my Dad a visitor. They married 45 years ago this month. And this Kellogg’s link is particularly pertinent to me right now as I just lost my Mom suddenly to a stroke. I think this was fate’s way of making me smile and remember happy times.

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Mary C. Tierney, Editor
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