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What Are the Different Types of Medical Probe?

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  • Written By: T. Carrier
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 04 September 2016
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Medical probes come in two primary varieties: instruments or substances. Both are generally used for exploring areas of the body that may not be readily reachable. The former varieties include the dental probe, the anal probe, and the wound probe. Instrument probes may be further classified by their appearance and purpose, such as the flat probe, the ball probe, and the drum probe. Substances that might serve as medical probes range from DNA to radioactive isotopes.

Physical instruments composed of material like steel, plastic, or glass make up the primary bulk of medical probe utensils. These devices are usually thin and elongated because they are often introduced into small body openings and must easily move through narrow body cavities. Therefore, they may also be designed with some degree of flexibility. Specialty manufacturers typically create medical probes for use in hospitals, clinics, and other medical settings.

Exploration is the general purpose of a medical probe in most cases. Sometimes, they are specifically designed for a certain area of the body, like the mouth or the anus. Such exploratory probes often have a blunted end to avoid any bodily damage and are thus classified as flat probes. Others, like periodontal probes, have a sharper and more defined end to better access extremely narrow areas like between the teeth.

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Some medical probe instruments provide important information to the user as well. For example, dental probes such as the automated probe, the furcated probe, and the Williams probe can measure factors like tooth bone loss and gum disease progression. Drum probes are affixed with sounding measures that can help detect abnormal metal particles, while Doppler probes measure blood flow. A ball probe also aids in internal measurements.

In some instances, a medical probe may help perform a particular function. The electroejaculation probe is self-explanatory, as it provides a little lower-body shock treatment for the benefit of men. Eyed probes, on the other hand, have ends that allow thread attachment. Some probes operate as catheters that can administer or drain fluids in the body. In addition, the transducers that help send and receive the waves for ultrasound machines can also be classified as probes.

Scientists and medical professionals sometimes inject substances into the body that function as a medical probe. For example, scientists might manipulate atoms and nuclei to create radioactive isotopes. Certain processes may also separate DNA strands for probe use. In such cases, the substances are chemically labeled and then introduced into the body, where they help locate infectious organisms.

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