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Ultrasonic

Ultrasound diagnostics is one of the most frequently performed medical examinations. Using ultrasound, pathological changes can be detected very quickly, inexpensively and above all without unpleasant side effects. That is why this examination method is not only indispensable in acute and emergency medicine, but is also frequently used for routine controls and preventive examinations. One of the main areas of application is the ultrasound examination during pregnancy…

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  • How does an ultrasound examination work?
  • When is an ultrasound examination necessary?
  • What should be considered before / after the examination?
  • How is the examination performed?
  • What are the side effects / complications?
  • Where is an ultrasound scan done?
  • How are the costs going to be covered?

Ultrasound diagnostics is one of the most frequently performed medical examinations. Using ultrasound, pathological changes can be detected very quickly, inexpensively and above all without unpleasant side effects.

That is why this examination method is not only indispensable in acute and emergency medicine, but is also frequently used for routine controls and preventive examinations. One of the main areas of application is the ultrasound examination during pregnancy…

How does an ultrasound examination work?

Ultrasound is understood to be sound waves above the human hearing limit. Therefore, they are imperceptible to the human ear. In medical diagnostics, ultrasonic waves are generated by a crystal that is set into vibration by an electrical voltage. This process is called the piezoelectric effect. The crystal is located in the so-called transducer head with which the doctor carries out the ultrasound examination. The emitted ultrasonic waves penetrate the human body to different depths depending on the nature of the tissue. They are reflected to different degrees by the various tissues and captured again by the transducer. The sound echoes, i.e. the reflected waves, are amplified and displayed.

Using different techniques, on the one hand, sectional images of organs and tissues can be generated, and on the other hand, movements of organs (such as the heart) can be recorded.

Ultrasonic methods that are used particularly frequently are:

  • Doppler sonography (Doppler effect sonography, Doppler echocardiography): This allows fluid flows (especially blood flow) to be displayed dynamically. It is based on the principle that ultrasound waves are sent into the tissue with a defined frequency and are scattered there on circulating erythrocytes. Doppler sonography is used to assess the speed of blood flow and thus enables the diagnosis of pathological vascular changes (e.g. arteriosclerosis, vascular constrictions such as PAD), heart and valve defects and plays a decisive role in obstetrics and gynecology.
  • Color-coded duplex sonography: This is one of the most important diagnostic procedures in vascular medicine because it can be used to examine practically every vessel for pathological changes. The color duplex combines the sonographic cross-sectional image with data from Doppler sonography and produces images with graded colors. These enable statements to be made as to whether a fluid-filled cavity is coupled to the blood flow (e.g. aneurysm) or whether there is no blood flow inside a cavity (e.g. bruise, abscess). The type of color also makes it possible to assess the speed of blood flow and thus the severity of a vascular narrowing. Vascular occlusions can also be displayed.

In the area of ​​the carotid artery or the groin, vessels can be displayed so reliably that further imaging procedures can often be dispensed with. In the diagnosis of varicose veins, color-coded duplex sonography has almost completely replaced venography.

When is an ultrasound examination necessary?

Ultrasound diagnostics are used in many areas of medicine. Their main areas of application are:

  • Examination of organs of the abdomen and pelvis (liver, gallbladder, spleen, stomach, intestines, pancreas, kidneys, urinary bladder, prostate, female genital organs, etc.),
  • Examination of the heart (echocardiography),
  • Examination of soft tissue (muscle, fat tissue, skin, etc.)
  • Examination of vessels,
  • Examinations during pregnancy.

What should be considered before / after the examination?

For ultrasound examinations of the abdomen, nothing should be eaten for at least four hours beforehand. The gallbladder, for example, can only be optimally assessed when the patient is sober. Liquids may be drunk, especially because the urinary bladder should be full during the examination so that the pelvic organs can be optimally assessed.

How is the examination performed?

The ultrasound examination usually takes place lying down, for certain questions (e.g. the diagnosis of an inguinal hernia) also while standing. A contact gel is applied to the skin surface for better sound transmission. The transducer is moved on the skin surface and rotated at different angles to the skin surface so that the organs and soft tissues can be assessed in different planes. Your examiner will ask you to breathe in deeply and hold your breath briefly so that, for example, the liver moves out of the chest into the abdomen and can thus be better assessed.

What are the side effects / complications?

The ultrasound examination is completely painless and usually only takes a few minutes. Since ultrasound waves do not pose any danger to the human body, the examination can be carried out in all age groups and as often as required.

Ultrasound examinations of the unborn child are now standard examinations during pregnancy and are also provided as part of the mother-child pass. So far, no side effects of ultrasound waves on the unborn child are known. The mother-to-be is free to forego the ultrasound examinations provided for in the mother-child pass!

Where is an ultrasound scan done?

An ultrasound examination can be carried out by specialists in radiology and by specialists in whose field an ultrasound examination is necessary (e.g. in gynecology), as well as in hospitals. A medical referral is required.

  • You can find specialists in your area under Services: Doctor search.
  • You can find hospitals in your area under Clinic search.

How are the costs going to be covered?

You need a doctor's referral for an ultrasound examination. This is valid for one month from the date of issue. Most ultrasound exams are covered by your health insurance provider.

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