The US handheld ultrasound market is expected to exceed $1.2bn by 2016 due to technological advances and improvements in three and four-dimensional capabilities by some of the major manufacturers including SonoSite, GE and Siemens, according to a new report by iData Research, a global authority in medical device and pharmaceutical market research.

iData’s report, ‘US Market for Ultrasound Equipment 2010’ includes market analyses and competitor profiles for 11 ultrasound systems – cardiology, radiology, obstetrics, gynecology, breast, urology, vascular, ophthalmic, emergency-medicine, musculoskeletal, trans-cranial and handheld ultrasound imaging devices.

Adoption of handheld ultrasound devices and the use of ultrasound in emergency medicine will fuel strong growth in the overall US ultrasound market, which suffered a sharp decrease in sales during the recession, the report said.

Another area showing strong growth is the breast ultrasound market, which will double in size by 2016 as demand for devices in the detection of breast cancer increases.

iData CEO Kamran Zamanian said that recent advances in handheld ultrasound devices have allowed for their use in procedures traditionally performed by other modalities such as computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging.

“As the systems increase the ability to diagnose and treat a greater number of patients, physician preference towards handheld systems will rise rapidly. In addition, emergency medicine is driving sales of handheld systems since portability is a key consideration in this segment.

“Breast ultrasound systems are able to detect abnormalities that are a quarter of the size of the smallest growths that X-ray mammography can detect. In addition, they do not expose patients to radiation. These benefits will drive adoption among healthcare facilities and lead to double-digit market growth,” Zamanian said.