Anniversary Paper: Evolution of ultrasound physics and the role of medical physicists and the AAPM and its journal in that evolution


  • Carson Paul L.,

    1. Basic Radiological Sciences Collegiate Professor, Department of Radiology, University of Michigan Health System, 3218C Medical ScienceI, B Wing SPC 5667, 1301 Catherine Street, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-5667
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  • Fenster Aaron

    1. Imaging Research Laboratories, Robarts Research Institute, 100 Perth Drive, P. O. Box 5015, London, Ontario N6A 5K8, Canada
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Ultrasound has been the greatest imaging modality worldwide for many years by equipment purchase value and by number of machines and examinations. It is becoming increasingly the front end imaging modality; serving often as an extension of the physician's fingers. We believe that at the other extreme, high-end systems will continue to compete with all other imaging modalities in imaging departments to be the method of choice for various applications, particularly where safety and cost are paramount. Therapeutic ultrasound, in addition to the physiotherapy practiced for many decades, is just coming into its own as a major tool in the long progression to less invasive interventional treatment. The physics of medical ultrasound has evolved over many fronts throughout its history. For this reason, a topical review, rather than a primarily chronological one is presented. A brief review of medical ultrasound imaging and therapy is presented, with an emphasis on the contributions of medical physicists, the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) and its publications, particularly its journal Medical Physics. The AAPM and Medical Physics have contributed substantially to training of physicists and engineers, medical practitioners, technologists, and the public.