Siemens Announces FDA Clearance of Virtual Touch Elastography Imaging

Jun 24, 2013

· Virtual Touch™ imaging is Siemens’ first commercially available implementation of Acoustic Radiation Force Impulse (ARFI) technology.

· Virtual Touch imaging visualizes deep tissues that are inaccessible by superficial manual compression elastography.

· Virtual Touch imaging is available on Siemens’ premium ACUSON S2000™ and ultra-premium ACUSON S3000™ ultrasound systems.


Siemens Healthcare, a pioneer in ultrasound innovation, has announced that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared the company’s Virtual Touch imaging ultrasound application – Siemens’ first commercially available implementation of Acoustic Radiation Force Impulse (ARFI) technology. Virtual Touch imaging is a revolutionary way of visualizing tissue stiffness, allowing clinicians to visualize pathology deeper into the body and more clearly than ever before. Using sound beams to gently compress tissue, Virtual Touch imaging displays a map, or elastogram, of relative tissue stiffness within the region of interest. This elastogram provides clinicians with more diverse clinical information and increases diagnostic confidence, improving clinical decision-making for more efficient patient care. Available on Siemens’ premium ACUSON S2000 and ultra-premium ACUSON S3000 ultrasound systems, Virtual Touch imaging demonstrates Siemens’ innovation and competitiveness – two components of the Healthcare Sector’s Agenda 2013 two-year global initiative.


Virtual Touch imaging reduces dependence on user technique, improving inter-operator reproducibility – an important aspect of clinical utility. Precisely focusing the ultrasound beam within the region of interest, Virtual Touch imaging maximizes sensitivity to create a more uniform elastogram. By comparison, existing manual compression techniques apply pressure merely at the skin surface, with uncontrollable stress applied in deeper tissues.


Virtual Touch imaging is cleared for use in abdominal, breast, thyroid, small parts and musculoskeletal exams. Since 2008, the technology has been commercially available in Europe and Asia, where it has proven to be an extremely valuable tool in the detection, diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of cancer, chronic liver disease, and musculoskeletal degeneration and injury. Virtual Touch imaging features an excellent sensitivity to extremely small tissue displacements, which leads to enhanced border definition and improved depiction of lesion size. This sensitivity also helps enable clinicians to identify the stiffest portion of the tissue to enhance targeting of fine-needle aspiration (FNA) and biopsy sampling.


“Siemens is proud to announce the FDA clearance of Virtual Touch imaging technology,” said Jeffrey Bundy, CEO, Siemens Healthcare Ultrasound business unit. “Armed with this powerful visualization tool, clinicians in the United States can now more confidently assess lesion tissue stiffness, further enhancing their diagnostic confidence.”


Redefining the use of ultrasound in the diagnosis, treatment, and therapy of diseases, Virtual Touch imaging is gaining international clinical acceptance, evolving into a new standard of care at an increasing number of institutions.


“Virtual Touch imaging enables the user to avoid the limitations of compression elastography, compressing tissue without any user dependency to provide a higher-quality display of the lesion,” said Dirk-Andre Clevert, section head of the Interdisciplinary Ultrasound Center at Germany’s University Hospital Munich-Grosshadern, which uses ultrasound elastography imaging to examine many of the approximately 20,000 patients who are treated annually at the center.


Contact for journalists:
Jeff Bell
Siemens Healthcare, Media Relations
Phone: +1 610 448-1477; E-mail:

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Launched in November 2011, Agenda 2013 is the initiative of the Siemens Healthcare Sector to further strengthen its innovative power and competitiveness. Specific measures, which will be implemented by the end of 2013, have been defined in four fields of action: innovation, competitiveness, regional footprint, and people development.


The Siemens Healthcare Sector is one of the world's largest suppliers to the healthcare industry and a trendsetter in medical imaging, laboratory diagnostics, medical information technology and hearing aids. Siemens offers its customers products and solutions for the entire range of patient care from a single source – from prevention and early detection to diagnosis, and on to treatment and aftercare. By optimizing clinical workflows for the most common diseases, Siemens also makes healthcare faster, better and more cost-effective. Siemens Healthcare employs some 51,000 employees worldwide and operates around the world. In fiscal year 2012 (to September 30), the Sector posted revenue of 13.6 billion euros and profit of 1.8 billion euros. For further information please visit: