The functionality of CaviTAU®
Ultrasound based imaging has been a safe and minimally invasive technology in medicine since the 1940’s. CaviTAU® does not use the standard ultrasound technique, which evaluates the range or background of reflected sound signals, but instead picks up sound waves that remain after the sound has completely traversed the bone. This technique is based on the fact that sound penetrates dry and solid bone tissue faster than water (or liquid fat in fat cells) or softened bone tissue. Therefore, fatty-degenerative osteonecrotic and osteolytic osteopathies (FDOJ/“NICO”), with many hollow, air-filled cavities and dry and fibrous medullary changes can be detected with CaviTAU®. CaviTAU® is thus a safe and effective imaging test method for alveolar cancellous bone.
Quick detection and localization of cavitators
CaviTAU® relates to detecting and locating dental cavitations in jawbones using Through-Transmission Alveolar Ultrasonography (TAU). CaviTAU® generates an ultrasound pulse and passes the pulse through the jawbone. The pulse is detected and monitored subsequently by an ultrasound receiving unit. Attenuations of the amplitude of the pulse are indicative for pathological changes in the jawbone. The results are displayed on a color monitor, showing different colors according to different degrees of attenuation (Figure 1 and 2).
A computer evaluates the speed and strength of the generated sound after it has traversed the bone. He transforms the signal into a three-dimensional color-coded picture. Thus, the picture is color-coded to make the strength of the destruction understandable to the patient as well:
GREEN = Healthy and solid bone and tooth structures
YELLOW / ORANGE = Median stage of chronic fatty degeneration of pine osteitis
RED = Greasy dissolved jawbone with bacteria, and toxins and extreme RANTES / CCL5 expression
In men, it is important that no beard is present.
Brief description of CaviTAU®
One part of the measuring unit, preferably the transducer is either on the outside somewhere on the cheek or inside on the buccal side of the mouth whereas the receiver is to be positioned on the lingual or palatal side. In both cases the position of transducer and receiver is well defined in a safe and simple way. In most cases the flexibility of the cheek is sufficient to equalize existing anatomical peculiarities and still to be able to achieve coplanarity; if not, it is possible to use a semi-solid gel. It should be noted that the deviations from coplanarity occur only in one dimension whereas for the Cavitat Ultrasonograph the deviations occur routinely in all three dimensions.
The Semi-Solid Gel in new CaviTAU®
Calibration and functional test
The arrangement of the measuring unit in a defined geometry allows an easy test of the functionality and calibration of the apparatus. Immersing completely the measuring unit in water, gradually moving the unit through the surface of the water and finally placing the unit entirely in air, while continuously sending ultrasonic signals through the unit, allows the assessment of the functionality of the apparatus. Water and air give very different signals and their expected occurrence, particularly when the measuring unit is moved through the boundary between water and air, allows the proof of the correct functioning of the piezoelectric elements. This check should be performed every time before use.
Detailed Description of new CaviTAU®
New CaviTAU® comprise a flexible strip configured to measure a force applied to at least one of the arms and wherein CaviTAU® is configured to provide an indication of the measured force by visual and/or audible means. By preferably locating a flexible strip in the arm of the apparatus coupled to the ultrasonic receiver, this prevents excessive force from being applied to the gel interface between the ultrasonic transducer and ultrasonic receiver. In response to the measured force exceeding or falling below one or more predetermined thresholds, CaviTAU® is configured to provide an indication according to the value of measured force.
CaviTAU® comprises a multiplexer or means configured to multiplex the analogue signal data generated by the ultrasonic receiver. The amplification means and/or the multiplexing means is preferably located in the arm to which the ultrasonic receiver is coupled and in close proximity to the ultrasonic receiver in order to improve signal-to-noise ratio i.e. to reduce error.
CaviTAU® comprises a transmitter or means to transmit the multiplexed analogue signal data to a discrete main unit that is separate from but associated for further processing of the signals. Due to the multiplexing, the number of transmission means from the apparatus to the main unit is beneficially smaller than the number of active piezoelectric elements in the ultrasonic receiver. By multiplexing the analogue signal data received simultaneously from a plurality of all the active piezoelectric elements (e.g. 96 elements), in a wired example i.e. when the transmission means comprises a plurality of cables, the apparatus advantageously reduces the number of cables required for transmitting the preprocessed signal data to the main unit (e.g. 8 cables as opposed to 96) and thereby enables serial transmission and processing of the signal data.
CaviTAU® transmits the amplified and multiplexed analogue signal data to a main unit associated with the apparatus concurrently with digitalising the signal data; partially processing the digital signal data; storing the partially processed signal data in a memory; and transmitting the partially processed digital signal data to a software application for final processing and subsequent transmission to a display unit associated with the apparatus.
CaviTAU® includes a step of displaying the further processed data by associating different signal strengths with at least one of: a grayscale comprising different tones, one or more colour schemes (see Figure 1 and 2) comprising different colours and a graph, preferably wherein signal data for unproblematic zones are displayed with reduced coloured areas whilst data indicating peculiarities are displayed as large areas. By providing one or more grayscale/colour schemes, this aids a user with recognition of relevant data. Furthermore, displaying the signal data in a form of graph enables quick analysis. Such a graph can be presented in 3D format (see Figure 3).