Sonography is an imaging technique that uses ultrasound waves primarily to examine internal organs. A major advantage of sonography compared to x-rays, which are also frequently used in medicine, is the harmlessness of the sound waves used. Sensitive tissues such as those in unborn babies are not damaged, and the examination is painless.
Which organs are examined?
Head and neck
When examining the head and neck, we primarily focus on vessels and the thyroid. In particular the carotid artery, in special cases also other arteries such as the temporal artery are examined for calcifications and inflammatory changes. We also examine the thyroid gland in order to recognize the occurrence of malignant changes or to carry out further imaging diagnostics in the event of abnormal laboratory values.
During the ultrasound examination of the chest, we routinely only look at the heart. If there are complaints (primarily acute or increasing shortness of breath), we take a closer look at the space between the lungs. Here we receive more information on the presence of pleural effusions (water between the lung leaves), a lung collapse and sometimes also on the presence of a pulmonary embolism.
During the ultrasound of the “abdomen” (abdominal cavity), the liver with bile ducts and the gallbladder, the pancreas, parts of the stomach and the spleen are examined in more detail. At the same time, the large abdominal vessels including the main artery with their large branches, the vena cava and the portal vein are examined.
Furthermore, a sonographic examination of the intestine is carried out – if there are any complaints, the descending colon and the region around the rectum are examined in particular. In the case of gastrointestinal infections, an assessment of the small intestine can also be carried out.
Abdominal urinary tract
During the examination of the abdominal cavity, we also regularly take a closer look at the kidneys and the urinary tract. In the case of men, there is also an assessment of the prostate, and in women, an orientation examination of the uterus and ovaries.
Vascular diagnostics on the legs
In the case of corresponding complaints, we can carry out an orienting diagnosis of the leg arteries if calcification is suspected and of the veins if thrombosis is suspected.
Ultrasound on the musculoskeletal system
In addition, we can use sonography to examine the soft tissues of the musculoskeletal system and assess the various joints. Sonography is mainly used to examine the tendons and ligaments on the knees, shoulder (rotator cuff), elbow, hands and wrists. We can assess and track the development of muscle injuries, localize foreign bodies and detect or rule out the presence of fluid collections (seromas and hematomas). It even allows us to see inflammation of peripheral nerves such as the median nerve in connection with carpal tunnel syndrome.