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FUS 1.2 History of Ultrasound

In 1794, an Italian physicist, Lazaro Spallanzani, wrote the first document about using sound waves for spatial visualization after analyzing the basic mechanisms of echolocation-based navigation in flying bats. Using sound to “see” was an entirely new area at the time.

In 1880, Galton created an apparatus capable of producing sound waves with a frequency of 40 hertz. During the First World War, Paul Langevin and colleagues were commissioned by the French government to research the use of high-frequency sound waves to locate German submarines. They were not successful. Similarly, Soviet physicist Sokolov proposed using ultrasound to detect flaws in metal structures in 1928.

During the early 1940s, devices were designed when the origin of a high-frequency sound wave could also pick up sound waves that bounced back at the origin of the sound. This was the basic premise of future medical ultrasound. In 1947-1948, Karl Dussik and his brother Friederick used ultrasound to visualize the cerebral ventricles, this was the first medical ultrasound.

In 1956, Ian Donald, an obstetrician, introduced ultrasound in diagnostic and medicine to measure fetal heads, and this technology was used to visualize gallstones.

The common use of ultrasound devices beyond academic practice started in the 1960s. In the 1970s, the Doppler effect was used with ultrasound to visualize blood circulation and the function of the heart and its moving parts as an echocardiogram.

In the 1990s, the use of ultrasound at the bedside by primary care physicians began to be adopted. Canadian emergency physician, and military physician, Ray Wiss was a key pioneer in training doctors beyond radiologists and popularizing the use of ultrasound at the bedside to diagnose and treat patients. This would lead many other hospital-based medical specialties to adopt ultrasound as a bedside tool to guide clinical decision-making and procedures over the subsequent two decades.

In 2015, the FDA approved high-intensity focused ultrasound for non-surgical skin tightening. This technology was a treatment rather than a means of imaging facial anatomy. However, it was the first application of ultrasound within non-invasive aesthetic practice. This same year Phillips produced the first portable ultrasound device which could reasonably identify small facial anatomy, this opened the door to bedside facial imaging within aesthetic clinics. However, this technology was mostly marketed and designed for non-aesthetic practice. The following year Clarius released a wireless and portable ultrasound device which could also visualize the small anatomy of the face.

In 2018, the physicians, Schelke and Velthuis in the Netherlands published a paper describing the safety benefits of facial ultrasound using dermal fillers. This initiated the gradual adoption of facial ultrasonography into non-invasive cosmetic practice.

During 2020, Clarius released the first portable ultrasound, which is capable of imaging at an ultrahigh-frequency of 20MHz and is designed for use within medical aesthetics clinics. Prior to this, such devices were non-portable mostly relegated to hospital-based practice.

In 2023, Learn the Face Education was launched, with its first course released focused on training for ultrasound in aesthetic-based practice. The goal of this course is to popularize and increase the accessibility of the skills required to use this technology and to increase the safety of cosmetic injectables.

Summary:

Lazaro Spallanzani wrote the first document about using sound waves for spatial visualization in 1794 after analyzing the mechanisms of echolocation-based navigation in bats.
In the early 1940s, devices were designed based on the premise of picking up sound waves that bounced back to the origin of the sound, leading to the first medical ultrasound in 1947-1948.
Ian Donald introduced ultrasound to medicine to measure fetal heads in 1956, and in the 1970s, the Doppler effect was used to visualize blood circulation and the heart’s function.
In the 1990s, ultrasound at the bedside began to be adopted in various medical specalities.
Portable ultrasound devices were introduced that could image the face starting in 2015, and in 2018, facial ultrasonography was increasingly adopted into non-invasive cosmetic practice.
During 2020, Clarius released the first portable ultrasound designed for use within medical aesthetics clinics.

(image of Lazaro Spallanzani)
(Image of Ian Donald)
(image of Ray Wiss)
(image of Schelke and Velthuis)
(Image of L20)