When you are shopping for ultrasound gel, you will come across the optional gel warmers. Deciding on whether or not to use something like this in your office is more of an individual choice to make. Generally, the main reason to use this is that you can make your patients much more comfortable by using a gel warmer. This not only helps your patients who are having an ultrasound procedure done feel more at ease, but also helps them to relax, which may help you better with the imaging you are trying to get.
When it comes to your patients, staff and even yourself as a medical professional, you also have to be cautious. Experts in the medical field often wonder about the safety of gel warmers before they have used them. The good news is that as long as they are handled properly, cleaned and repaired as needed and made by a trusted brand that is high quality, you should not have any problems using a gel warmer.
Taking Care of Your Patients
If you choose a less than high quality gel warmer, you may have certain problems, such as:
- Gel that is not warm enough – The ideal temperature for ultrasound gel is body temperature. If a gel warmer is poor quality, older or in need of repair, it may take a long time to warm the gel or not be able to get it to the desired body temperature. This can defeat the purpose of even having a gel warmer at all.
- Gel that is too warm – While it would be rare to find someone who has actually suffered a burn from ultrasound gel, it can get warm enough to be uncomfortable. Anything above body temperature runs the risk of being at least mildly uncomfortable to your patients. Slightly above that could cause your patients to feel an almost burning sensation without it leaving a burn or mark. It is best to lean towards having the gel too cool as opposed to too warm.
- Gel that is uneven or unpredictable – This generally means your gel warmer may make the gel too warm, not warm enough or give a patient a dose of both within the same office visit. Again, this could even just be that the gel warmer needs maintenance, but is something that should be checked out. It is almost more unsettling for your patients to experience an imbalance in temperature than having it too cool but even. The mixture makes both temperatures more noticeable and therefore uncomfortable for your patients.
As a medical professional, it is always important to try to understand what it is your patients may be experiencing. Have your equipment checked periodically to ensure that you are not causing your patients discomfort without even realizing it. It is also a good idea to ask for direct feedback from your patients, especially those who are having their first ultrasound experience.
This is the best way to determine firsthand how those who come into your office and to you as a trusted professional are dealing with the procedure and comfort levels. In general, gel warmers are safe and can be a very welcome option your patients will appreciate.
2 thoughts on “Are Ultrasound Gel Warmers Safe?”
JCAHO is requireing keeping temperature logs- what have you seen in regards in how to take the temp of the gel?
Ban them! I was burned last week and it has not healed yet. If it is not better by the end of the week, I will file a formal complaint.