Technological advances are paving the way for smaller and more dynamic imaging systems. Smart fusion technologies have synchronized ultrasound imaging with MRI or CT scan, and new advancements such as the Aplio 500’s Fly Thru imaging technology are allowing ultrasound systems to explore interior, fluid-filled ducts & vessels after or during an examination. Pregnancy diagnostics falls under a critical application extent of ultrasound imaging technology. As parents continue to grow more concerned about radiation dosage associated with diagnostic imaging tests, manufacturers of ultrasound systems strive to make the selection of appropriate imaging test uncomplicated.

Ultrasound systems have emerged to become a sought-after imaging tool for diagnosis a pregnant woman, so hospitals are always exploring new ways to boost the adoption of pregnancy sonography. New reports reveal the emergence of a multi-dimensional imaging system in pregnancy diagnostics - a novel device that can create a 3D model of the unborn child’s face. A private hospital in Hong Kong has developed a new service where expecting parents can touch the face of their unborn child by means of latest 4D ultrasound device and 3D printing technology.

Based in Tsuen Wan, the Hong Kong Adventist Hospital has recently deployed an innovative service for pregnancy imaging. This pioneer breakthrough in medical imaging makes the hospital Hong Kong city’s first private medical institution in offering such a novel healthcare service.

A Blessing for Visually-Impaired Parents

The hospital has purchased latest model of a 4D ultrasound device for capturing a multi-dimensional image of the fetus. The derived image is sent through top-of-class 3D printers, which deliver a 3D model of the fetus or the child’s face. Parents can touch this model to feel how their baby’s face has shaped into, at any point during pregnancy.

The Adventist Hospital has also pioneered in offering such an unconventional imaging service for blind parents. Such new-age imaging service will help the visually-impaired parents who are unable to see ultrasound images of their unborn children. By taking care of the needs of everyone, senior nursing staff at the hospitals is interested in helping all parents experience the sensory essence of child birth. Parents can also choose between colored or plain 3D models, and can even get the model encased in crystallized materials.

4D Ultrasound – Not for the Frugal

This groundbreaking ultrasound imaging device can scan a fetus right from six weeks of the women’s pregnancy. Doctors and parents can touch these 3D models to understand developments in the fetus or the child’s body in real time. Older ultrasound systems are exhibiting compatibility issues by showing one-two seconds of time lag while adapting to this 4D ultrasound imaging technology. While all fetuses look similar, the demand for this imaging service is expected to gain traction at latter months of a women’s pregnancy, when the unborn child’s body is distinctly evolved.

There’s all but one major drawback in opting for this service – its price. The process, itself, costs around HK$ 3,000 (US$ 380), and parents have to pay additional price for taking the models home. Considering the backdrop of outright preference to ultrasound imaging in pregnancy diagnostics, witnessed throughout the globe, such advanced and expensive procedures are most likely to boost the expansion of global ultrasound systems market, which is pegged to surpass US$ 7.8 Bn in value by the end of 2022. Moreover, capitalizing on the idea that parents will be urged to treasure these modelled baby faces, the private hospital is also asking parents to shell an additional HK$ 6,000 (US$ 760) for taking home a set of 3D models of their child’s face.