Medical ultrasound is transfer of sound waves into body for diagnostic purpose. This is carried out to obtain internal body images. The ultrasound technology when used alone is not effective, as the sound waves are impeded by air and gases. These air and gases cause intense reflections between the skin and ultrasound transducer. Therefore, a conductive medium is required, where the ultrasound waves can be transferred through skin without any reflections. This ultrasound gels serve as a conductive medium between the transducer and surface of skin and help transfer sound waves through skin by preventing the formation of of air bubbles. Alcohol and water are also suitable media, but inappropriate to use due to their low viscosity and volatility. Ultrasound gel is composed of propylene glycol and water. These gels are completely transparent, non-allergic, and have gliding characteristics. These gels are little sticky, and when applied to skin, do not dip or run off. Ultrasound gel can be easily wiped off after the medical procedure. Ideally, ultrasound gel should be non-irritating and should not stain clothes or damage equipment. It should be completely aqueous.
Based on type, the ultrasound gel market can be segmented into sterile and non-sterile. Sterile ultrasound gels are available in sachets with overwrapped. They are acoustically correct for all medical ultrasound frequencies. Sterile ultrasound gels are recommended for sterile body site procedures. They are also recommended for procedures with mucosal contact where biopsy is not planned and also on all procedures for pediatric patients. Non-sterile ultrasound gels are usually available in doppler tubes, bottles, and containers. The use of non-sterile ultrasound gel is recommended for low risk procedures on intact skin. For non-sterile ultrasound gels, single use containers are recommended rather than refillable or reusable bottles. If reusable bottles are used, they should follow proper guidelines for refilling. Non-sterile ultrasound gels lead in terms of market share due to their low cost and bulk availability. However, sterile ultrasound gels are gaining popularity owing to their recommended usage in pediatric procedures and other therapies.
Based on end-use application, the ultrasound gel market can be categorized into therapy, hospital, and diagnostics. Under the therapy segment, ultrasound gel is used along with the ultrasound machine for therapies such as hyperthermia, unfocused beam, high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU), intracorporeal lithotripsy, extracorporeal lithotripsy, focused ultrasound, extracorporeal shockwave therapy, intravascular ultrasound, and low intensity pulsed ultrasound. Under the hospital segment, ultrasound gels are used along with ultrasound machines for anesthesiology, gynecology, neonatology, ophthalmology, and urology. Ultrasound gel is applied for diagnostic procedures such as echocardiography, endoscopy, electrocardiography, and carotid ultrasonography. The therapy segment dominates the market for ultrasound gel due to its extensive range of applications. It is followed by the diagnostic segment.
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Based on region, the ultrasound gel market can be segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. The health care industry is in the mature stage in developed nations of North America and Europe. Therefore, North America leads the market for ultrasound gel. It is followed by Europe. The ultrasound gel market in Asia Pacific and Middle East & Africa is in the growth stage.
Key players operating in the ultrasound gel market are Parker Laboratories Inc., Optimum Medical Limited, Tele-Paper Malaysia, Livondo, NEXT Medical Products, Sonotech, Sonogel Vertriebs Gmbh, Changchun Chengshi, National Therapy Products Inc, Phyto Performance, Ultragel Kft, Eco-Med, Besmed, Medguard Healthcare, and Ceracarta.
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