Fifth Major Performance Enhancement Since MicroMaxx Introduction Targeted for Anesthesia, EMED, Breast Surgery and Interventional Radiology Applications Customer Deliveries Begin Today
BOTHELL, WA - April 12, 2007 - SonoSite, Inc. (Nasdaq:SONO), the world leader in hand-carried ultrasound, announced today the introduction of a major advance in image resolution for the MicroMaxx system together with a series of enhancements to improve clinical workflow. The fifth major technology expansion to the MicroMaxx platform since the system began shipping in mid-2005, the new capabilities include SonoMB technology, a proprietary multi-beam imaging algorithm that dramatically improves image resolution.
Also included are advances in fundamental and harmonic imaging for abdominal applications, automated image optimization, and credentialing worksheets for recording exams in emergency medicine. Existing customers can easily and securely upgrade their MicroMaxx systems to the new capabilities via compact flash card at no charge. MicroMaxx systems incorporating these new advances begin shipping globally today.
"The flexible, highly integrated architecture of the MicroMaxx system, in conjunction with its programmable transducers, allows our customers to incorporate advances such as SonoMB technology and other performance breakthroughs through software upgrades, without the inconvenience and expense of changing hardware typical of many other systems on the market today," said Jim Gilmore, SonoSite Vice President of Research and Development. Mr. Gilmore also noted that patents are pending on the new technology.
"The new capabilities we are announcing today are the first of several significant innovations that we plan to deliver over the next year," said Kevin M. Goodwin, SonoSite President and CEO. "Physicians using the new SonoMB technology have been unanimous in their view that this is a major advance that dramatically improves image resolution and will increase their diagnostic information and precision when performing interventional procedures."
SonoMB Technology: A Major Advance in Imaging for Adults and Children
"SonoMB is a very significant advance in image resolution for nerve imaging," said Brian D. Sites, MD, Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology and Director of Regional and Orthopedic Anesthesia at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. "Image quality is paramount to perform nerve blocks efficiently and safely. By providing a machine that differentiates the subtle complexities of tissue, nerve and muscle while being extremely simple to use, SonoSite has created the perfect world for the anesthesiologist."
"This is a significant advance in image quality," agrees Professor Peter Marhofer, MD, Department of Anesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine, Medical University of Vienna, Austria. "It is much easier to see smaller anatomical structures which will help with delicate procedures such as peripheral venous access in babies where the structures are so small and superficial." Dr. Marhofer estimates that he sometimes performs 10 to 12 procedures a day on pediatric patients. "The better the quality of the image, the higher our confidence and the better our performance," he said.
"The image quality on the MicroMaxx system with SonoMB technology is spectacular," stated Santhanam Suresh, MD, Associate Professor and Director of Pain Treatment Services at Children's Memorial Medical Center, Chicago. "With the new image enhancement technique, the tip of the needle can be more easily visualized and we can target our nerve blocks better."
"Images with SonoSite's new multi-beam technology are absolutely beautiful," said Daniel D. Price, MD, Director of the Emergency Ultrasound Fellowship and emergency physician at Highland General Hospital in Oakland, California who also teaches at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine. "The anatomy is more distinct with finer detail. Images of the joints in the hand looked almost three-dimensional to me. The SonoMB technology makes subtle structures such as nerves and tendons really stand out." "SonoMB is not just another button," says J. Christian Fox, MD, RDMS, FACEP, FAAEM, Fellowship Director, Emergency Ultrasound, Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of California, Irvine. "The improvement in image quality is dramatic and will be helpful in guiding regional nerve blocks and other interventional procedures such as peripheral IV placements and locating minute foreign bodies."
Outstanding Image Resolution Another Example of Superior Market Understanding
Both Drs. Sites and Suresh also noted SonoSite's history and commitment to a deep understanding of market needs that extends into the design and function of its systems. "SonoSite has had a long-standing commitment to anesthesiology and had the foresight to contact us years ago to gain an understanding of this market long before others knew we were interested," Dr. Sites said. "SonoSite understands the anesthesiologist's need for portability and simplicity. At Dartmouth we have a six-room block area where we teach people from all over the world to perform regional anesthesia and they migrate to the SonoSite systems because they are so easy to use." Dr. Suresh also notes that the MicroMaxx advantage extends beyond this breakthrough in image quality as well. "The MicroMaxx system is a very technically advanced machine and yet SonoSite has made it so simple. I don't have to adjust 18 different dials. I press a couple of buttons and am ready to go. I can use the MicroMaxx in a pinch. I don't have the luxury of waiting 3 minutes for a system to start up. To me, user friendly also means that I can whisk a system from room to room without any concern about damaging it. It's not user friendly when you have to worry that you might break something if you move it around. The MicroMaxx is very solid. It makes a world of difference in my practice of pediatric anesthesia."
SonoMB Upgrade Improves Clinical Productivity and Broadens MicroMaxx Versatility
Dr. Price also noted that the other new features like Auto Gain and the emergency medicine training worksheets associated with the SonoMB upgrade are significant for Emergency Medicine because of the impact they will have on improving productivity and training capacity in a busy, hectic environment. "The new Auto Gain feature provides another major advantage," Dr. Price explained. "Because emergency physicians have a brief period of time to spend on the ultrasound exam of a patient, we need a high quality image as quickly as possible. In my experience, Auto Gain provides a near perfect image almost every time. It yields a great image that can be fine-tuned to personal preference if desired but is immediately ready for interrogation and diagnosis." "I predict that with advances like SonoMB there will be a logarithmic increase in the use of regional anesthesia in emergency medicine," Dr. Price continued. "It's frightening to put a needle through a vessel. Now when we can see where the needle is going and easily identify the nerves, we're more likely to use this valuable technique of regional anesthesia, particularly in situations where you don't want to give sedation because a patient has a head injury, is hypotensive, or is an older adult."
Expanded Range of Applications and Patients
Dr. Fox also noted that the improvements to the versatile C60 abdominal transducer reinforces the need to deal with the changes in modern body sizes and shapes that are frequently presented to physicians in emergency or life-threatening situations. "Given today's increasingly obese population, improvements to the C60 transducer allows imaging to a depth of 30 centimeters and makes scanning much more comfortable for larger patients", Dr. Fox said. "We won't need to physically push the transducer with as much force into the patient when we are scanning the abdominal aorta. It will also facilitate scanning a pregnant trauma victim when you need to see behind the uterus for internal bleeding." The C60 improvement in depth penetration is the second 30-cm depth transducer manufactured by SonoSite. SonoSite upgraded its P17/5-1 transducer in October 2006 to a 30-cm depth.
SonoSite, Inc. (www.sonosite.com) is the innovator and world leader in hand-carried ultrasound. Headquartered near Seattle, the company is represented by eight subsidiaries and a global distribution network in over 90 countries. SonoSite's small, lightweight systems are expanding the use of ultrasound across the clinical spectrum by cost-effectively bringing high performance ultrasound to the point of patient care. The company employs over 550 people worldwide. Dr. Daniel D. Price is a principal in Mobile Medical Media, LLC, a developer of medical education instructional videos, which produces ultrasound education video modules for SonoSite.