When your ultrasound machine is experiencing image quality issues, rule of thumb is to test your probes. If the probe malfunctions, it can affect the rest of the machine and can provide skewed results, possibly resulting in a misdiagnosis. Here are some guidelines for ultrasound transducer troubleshooting to help you see the signs and keep your machine operating well.


Black lines in the image area, also known as “dropout”, are not normal, and they’re a sign that something is wrong with the probe. These lines happen when one of the piezoelectric crystals stops sending and receiving signals. Dropouts start small and to the side, but gradually get larger. Getting the probe evaluated, may be your best bet at avoiding a costly repair.  If the issue is left unattended, you will get to a point where the lines are thick and obscure the image—at this point you must have the probe repaired immediately.


The probe lens is small, but it’s still prone to pinholes, pitted surface areas and delamination (surface fracturing into layers). These pinholes are hard to see at first, but over time, they become more prominent. Delamination can affect picture quality, which makes the viewing area harder to see and diagnose. Bacteria settles into these areas and can expose patients to disease.


Running over the cable with the ultrasound’s wheels and chair legs causes tears to happen. If there are cracks and damage to the plastic sheath on the cable, do not dismiss it. Overlooking this damage can lead to safety issues because electricity runs through the cables–touching the exposed metal can potentially shock the tech and/or patient.


The area where the cable meets the probe is the strain relief. Damage to this part is similar to damage to the cable sheath. Because this part of the probe is handled the most, damage in this area is easily spotted by anyone. Beware: once separation from the probe occurs, exposure of the cable can lead to damage and safety issues. It may seem like a superficial problem, but the more the cables become exposed, the more open to failure the probe is.

For probe evaluation and probe repair quote, call our Inside Sales team at 866-620-2831.  We can usually get you out a replacement probe within a day or so.