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MEDRAD abre la facilidad de la reparación de la punta de prueba del ultrasonido 3D en Denver

por Brendon Nafziger, DOTmed News Associate Editor | March 25, 2010
A technician
tests an ultrasound
transducer.
MEDRAD, Inc. Multi Vendor Service opened an ultrasound repair facility in Denver, Co. that focuses on 3D/4D ultrasound probes, the company announced on Tuesday.

The Warrendale, Pa.-based medical imaging company hopes the new facility will let them better service a hard-to-fix, and increasingly popular, ultrasound modality.

"The opening of the Denver operation is a response to our customers' need for a repair solution for their highly complex 3D/4D ultrasound probes," Diane Watson, executive director of sales and marketing at MEDRAD Multi Vendor Service, said in a statement.
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According to MEDRAD, the company decided on a "soft launch" of the 8,400 square foot facility in Denver. Though they first began doing work there in September, they started shipping customer's products directly to and from Denver in February 8 of this year, Katheryn Romano, associate product marketing manager at MEDRAD, tells DOTmed News.

Currently, the Denver plant has seven employees, but it plans on hiring four more over the next few months, says Romano.

Foray into 3D

While the 46-year-old company has long repaired ultrasound probes, this is their first facility dedicated to the 3D/4D ultrasound modality - one they believe is becoming more important for the market, especially with the advent of "baby-face imaging," where manufacturers use in utero images to directly appeal to pregnant women.

"3D ultrasound technology is the single most significant driver of sales of new ultrasound equipment in the OB/GYN sector of the market," notes Romano. "Manufacturers have taken a direct-to-consumer marketing approach for 3D ultrasound in this space."

But repairing these probes is not without its challenges. As Romano observes, it requires a "different skill set" from those involved in fixing 2D surface probes.

One of the main differences is that the 3D and 4D probes contain oil. As they're top-heavy, people tend to drop them often, explains Romano, causing the fluid to leak into places it doesn't belong.

"When oil leaks in places it shouldn't," says Romano, "you might literally start to see dots on your image from where oil has leaked through the array to the lens."

Because of these difficulties, the actual repair work in the Denver shop is being handled by Wetsco Inc, a Tulsa, Okla.-based business that specializes in ultrasound transducer repair. In November 2008, the two companies reached an agreement where Wetsco would exclusively repair ultrasound probes for MEDRAD.

"Since MEDRAD is managing all the customer-facing activities, it allows Wetsco to focus on technology," says Romano. And Wetsco is not just engaged in repairs. According to Romano, they're busy researching new methods for expanding the range of probes repaired, as well as developing new techniques to test product function.

While Romano won't comment on specifics at this point, she does admit "new stuff's coming out."

"The biggest thing we're focusing on is new repair capabilities," she says. "Out of all the ultrasound probes that exist, there are some very common platforms that our competitors have capabilities on. But there are others that have gone untouched because of the complexity of the technology."