What is ultrasound?

Ultrasound is a medical imaging technique that uses high frequency sound waves to create images of the internal structures of the body, helping to diagnose a variety of medical conditions, including pregnancy, heart disease, and cancer. It is also used to guide medical procedures such as biopsies and injections.

Traditional ultrasound technology generates images of the body by sending an electric current through a crystal composite called piezoelectric crystals. The crystal acts as a transducer, changing the electrical charge into a sound wave and sending that wave into the body. When that wave bounces off something, returns and hits the crystal, it turns the soundwave back into electricity. Software tracks the echo thousands of times a second to collect information about the structure the waves are bounding off of, and from that data creates an image.

Drawbacks to Traditional Ultrasound

Piezoelectric crystals are fragile so traditional ultrasound probes tend to break very easily, especially when they fall during a busy work shift.

Besides, imaging throughout the body requires accessing different depths, which relies on varying the ultrasound frequency used. Piezoelectric crystals have a limited frequency range. It means that traditional ultrasound requires the use of different probes to scan the whole body. That makes exams more difficult and time-consuming, and makes ultrasound more expensive. 

Linear (high frequency)

Used for superficial imaging such as vessels, muscles and tendons, breast, thyroid, or just below the skin surface. High frequencies offer higher resolution but sacrifice imaging at deeper depths.

A image of Butterfly iQ+ with Linear frequency range

Curved/Curvilinear (medium to low frequency)

Broad range of frequencies to image anatomy needing a wider and deeper field of view. Mostly used for Abdominal and OB/Pelvic exams. The lower frequency range allows for deeper imaging but sacrifice resolution for superficial structures.

Image of a Butterfly iQ with Curved frequency range

Phased (medium to low frequency)

Smaller footprint allows for easier imaging between rib spaces, perfect for cardiac scanning however this transducer can be used in the abdomen as well. The lower frequency allows for deeper imaging but sacrifice resolution for superficial structures.

Image of Butterfly iQ+ with Phased frequency range

Why is Butterfly different?

Butterfly has reinvented ultrasound technology from the ground up, replacing the delicate PZT crystals with a single silicon chip. Our Ultrasound-on-Chip™ technology is capable of emulating all three ultrasonic wave patterns with a single probe, creating a durable, handheld device that can scan the entire body. Butterfly iQ+ is the world's first handheld whole-body ultrasound system, transforming patient assessment by allowing clinicians to use imaging at the start of the treatment journey. The device connects to a compatible smartphone and offers AI tools to make ultrasound simpler. By making medical imaging universally accessible and affordable, Butterfly is democratizing healthcare.

Is Ultrasound safe?

Ultrasound imaging does not use radiation and has an excellent safety profile. It has been in use for over 70 years and there have been no long-term negative side effects associated with this technology when used appropriately1.


What is point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS)?

Point-of-care ultrasound, or POCUS, is the use of ultrasound by a healthcare provider at the point of patient assessment. It is enabled by portable ultrasound technology that enables clinicians to collect diagnostic and procedural imaging at the point of care: the first patient contact. Whether that’s in a large hospital, a rural clinic, an ambulance, or completely outside the walls of a medical facility, POCUS offers the immense power of medical imaging to support precise diagnoses and effective treatment decisions. 

What specialties is POCUS for? 

Giving clinicians access to handheld ultrasound can transform care in any specialty—from primary care, to emergency medicine, to anesthesia, and much more. Traditionally, the main obstacles to whole-body scanning have been affordability of POCUS systems, the need for multiple probes, and relative lack of portability of cart-based systems. Butterfly iQ+ has overcome all of these barriers: an ultra-portable, whole body, single-probe ultrasound machine.

With the Butterfly iQ+, clinicians have a powerful imaging tool to use in the normal course of patient assessment, to carry with them as they would carry a stethoscope. They are able to collect actionable diagnostic information anytime, anywhere to transform patient care.

Learn more about iQ+

How can I learn POCUS? 

At Butterfly, our mission is to empower clinicians and patients around the globe to benefit from the insights of ultrasound. We know that to impact as many patients as possible, ultrasound has to be available and as easy as possible to use. The iQ+ leverages an intuitive, touch-based app interface and AI features so that clinicians can obtain quality images and be confident in making informed patient care decisions.

We provide built-in educational tutorials and courses (35 courses, over 230 videos) so that every clinician can feel confident picking up a probe. 

Ready to get started on your POCUS educational journey? Visit our education page for more resources