This Doctor Diagnosed His Own Cancer with an iPhone Ultrasound


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According to New on MIT Technology Review

Every marketer wants the perfect story to tell. But if you’re in medicine, you don’t want it to be about yourself.

Earlier this year, vascular surgeon John Martin was testing a pocket-sized ultrasound device developed by Butterfly Network, a startup based in Guilford, Connecticut, that he’d just joined as chief medical officer. He’d been having an uncomfortable feeling of thickness on his throat. So he oozed out some gel and ran the probe, which is the size and shape of an electric razor, along his neck.

The Butterfly IQ is the first solid-state ultrasound machine to reach the market in the U.S.

On his smartphone, to which the device is connected, black-and gray images quickly appeared. Martin is not a cancer specialist. But he knew that the dark, three-centimeter mass he saw was something very bad. “I was enough of a doctor to know I was in trouble,” he says. It was squamous-cell cancer.

The device he used, called the Butterfly IQ, is the first solid-state ultrasound machine to reach the market in the U.S. Ultrasound works by shooting sound into the body and capturing the echoes. Usually, the sound waves are generated by a vibrating crystal. But Butterfly’s machine, which has been about eight years in development, instead uses 9,000 tiny drums etched onto a semiconductor chip.

Making ultrasound devices in a semiconductor manufacturing plant, the company hopes, will make the technology much cheaper, more versatile, and eventually something you could use at home.

The mass Dr. Martin discovered with his Butterfly IQ turned out to be cancer.

The company says it will start selling the machine this year for $1,999. “Now we think it’s an individual purchase,” says Martin. “This gives you the ability to do everything at the bedside: you can pull it out of your pocket and scan the whole body.”

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This article and images were originally posted on [New on MIT Technology Review] October 27, 2017 at 12:10AM

Credit to Author and New on MIT Technology Review

 

 

 

 

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