Finding the right angle is critical to optimal imaging. In fact ‘right angle’ or perpendicular imaging is the best way to get a clear image. At 90 degrees, many more sound beams reflect back to the transducer than at more shallow angles.
In addition, the ultrasound energy is more spread out when it connects to the tissue at an angle, as seen above.
In this image of the kidney, notice the inferior aspect of the kidney (right arrow) is imaged at nearly 90 degrees. The white lines represent the plane of the kidney.
It has the sharpest border and is well-distinguished from the liver. The middle arrow represents the path of ultrasound energy hitting the the kidney off 90 degrees. Not a bad image but doesn’t look as good as the one imaged at 90 degrees. Finally, the left arrow represents the beam hitting the kidney almost parallel. Note that the kidney-liver interface looks fuzzy and there is a great loss of detail. Most of the ultrasound energy is reflecting off the surface AWAY from the transducer- hardly any is available to reflect back towards the transducer and yield a good image.
Thus, angling the probe 90 degrees to the structure you want to image can increase resolution and improve your image quality.