Doctors Weigh in on 3-D Imaging Laws

ultrasoundGRANTS PASS, Ore. — Doctors say a law about who can perform an ultrasound helps prevent patients from making the wrong medical decisions. A 3-D imaging business in Grants Pass recently shut down because of the law.

Keepsakes 3-D Medical Imaging announced this week it’s closing its doors. The business used an ultrasound to create a 3D image of the fetus for the parents to keep.

But a new Oregon law passed in October said the procedures can only be done by doctors.

A radiologist at Three Rivers Hospital said there’s nothing necessarily unsafe about the Keepsake ultrasound businesses, but said it lulls patients into a false sense of security. He said he worries some patients may think that the keepsake visit is a substitute for a doctor’s visit. He said trained doctors and nurses can notice any potential problems with the fetus and do additional tests.

“They’re using some computer trickery, that’s what 3-D ultrasound is, to make a pretty picture of the outside of the fetus so they’ll see what it looks like,” said Marcus Bryner of Three Rivers Hospital. “When they do that, they’re missing all of the inside.”

State Senator Alan Bates, also a doctor, said he supports the idea that ultrasounds should only be performed by trained doctors and technologists.

Bryner said parents can easily get a printout at their regularly scheduled ultrasound.


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  1. Mollie bleeker says:

    I think Marcus Bryner is a bit off base here..There is some truth here.Yes, some people could get a false sense of security in the 3-D images if they choose not keep their regular doctor appointments, but most MDs keeps a watchful eye on their patients ..Our Grants Pass Keepsake 3-D Imaging has never tried to put themselves before any trained physicians.. They did create beautiful keepsakes and awesome ‘before’ pictures. Marcus is worried about SOME patents”.. Has he or Alan Bates had any cases or heard of any ? This law is there any KNOWN cases that it is based off of?? A point here.. There have been cases of TRAINED doctors and technologists tests that have been wrong.. Where a second opinion has saved the lives of those seeking it… Not the doctors but the patients themselves..So??

  2. Rebecca says:

    This article was done unfairly and biased. You should have interviewed other states whose doctors agree that this is safe, rather than once SMALL town radiologist who has no clue about elective centers. Not to mention, you did nothing to validate that Keepsake reads through and thoroughly ensures each patient is under the care of a medical doctor or midwife prior to the elective photography so his claim that people will think it is replacing medical care is completely fictional. I think you owe that company and that owner an apology and a fair piece on her boutique so she can keep her small, family owned business of used baby clothes that is only left now. Shame on you!!!

    1. NewsWatch 12 Staff says:

      It’s obvious you missed our previous story. We did an interview with Keepsake 3D Imaging on Sunday. Here’s the report: http://www.kdrv.com/3-d-imaging-law-impacts-local-business/

  3. Marcus Bryner says:

    Let me clarify: This written article is a little short on this subject and the video interview was a little more in depth. As a specialist physician who deals with ultrasounds daily, I was specifically asked by the news station to comment on *why* *state law* is prohibiting elective ultrasounds without a medical reason/order, not to put-down Keepsake business. Nowadays, most routine non-high-risk ultrasounds are handled by the OB/Gyn office in the course of your regular OB care. You can get free 3D ultrasound printouts of your baby from your OB/Gyn. I (radiologist) get involved only in more complicated fetal ultrasounds or high risk pregnancies which require more detailed evaluation. Usually, the licensed ultrasound technologist is scanning, and I oversee and interpret the scan. Sometimes I scan the patient myself. I clearly stated that there’s nothing necessarily unsafe about the Keepsake ultrasound businesses, when the expectant mother clearly knows it is for entertainment purposes only, and certain guidelines were followed. If the Keepsake business uses a trained ultrasound technologist to perform the scans, the risk is probably very low.

    I have never had any interest in putting anyone out of business, but I have and always will strive to balance best patient care and safety. FYI, this small town radiologist “who has no clue” was asked to stay as a clinical professor at 2 major universities here in the US since training. I’m here in Grants Pass because I grew up in the State of Jefferson and wanted to return. I have unlimited access to ultrasound, but would I subject my growing baby to it just to get some pictures for fun? I have taken some pics of my kids when they were in utero, but only for a few minutes at a time and only once or twice with each kid.

    Yes, there have been documented cases of severe birth defects that were completely overlooked by the keepsake business in the interest of providing a pretty picture. (I don’t mean this particular business in Grants Pass, I mean the keepsake industry in general.)
    See: Greene N, Platt LD. Nonmedical use of ultrasound: Greater harm than good? J Ultrasound Med 2005;2:123-5.
    Think for instance of a relatively common abnormality, Down’s syndrome, which has some characteristic ultrasound findings including cardiac defects, all of which are not seen on these Keepsake 3D ultrasounds. Does that mean we are perfect? No, of course not, but statistically I will find 97% of visible abnormalities.

    Oregon is not the first state to prohibit imaging that is not medically necessary. In radiology, one of the clear guidelines is ALARA — “as low as reasonably achievable.” Every study we do should follow that mantra: is the study necessary and how do we reduce the dose of radiation, whether ionizing (X-ray/CT) or non-ionizing (U/S or MRI). There are very clear guidelines, specifically from the FDA, various OB/Gyn societies, American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine, European Committee for Medical Ultrasound, and my own governing society, the American College of Radiology. All of them recommend against Keepsake ultrasounds because: 1st: They can cause a false sense of security in pregnant women who see a 3D picture of their baby and think there is nothing wrong. They then may not initiate OB care or may not have follow-up that is already scheduled. 2nd, the keepsake ultrasound centers are not equipped to deal with the emotional counseling and guidance if a gross abnormality is seen or suspected. 3rd, yes there probably is risk involved: The animal studies that show minimal ultrasound risk to a fetus were performed in the 1970-80’s, and “modern ultrasound equipment is capable of producing approximately 8 times higher intensities than equipment used a decade ago.” Some video companies have been known to use the ultrasound machine on higher energy exposures for as long as an hour to get the pictures. There are recent studies that show abnormal neuronal migration (i.e. events in brain and spinal cord formation) in mice/rats after only 30 minutes of ultrasound. Yes, the brain is developing during all stages of pregnancy and childhood. And I haven’t even touched on the cavitation or thermal/heating properties of ultrasound…
    From AIUM: http://files.aium.org/keepsake/safetysymposium.pdf
    From FDA: https://www.sdms.org/pdf/FDAKeepsake.pdf
    And here’s a link for the natural pregnancy/childbirth group:

    Marcus Bryner, MD

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