The thyroid gland has many responsibilities in our body. Our metabolism, cardio-vascular system, growth and psyche are influenced by thyroid hormones. Diseases of the thyroid gland are frequent.
The organ can be displayed by means of sonography scans in the case of practically any patient. Using modern technology (high resolution B-mode scans, color duplex, power duplex), the scan only takes about 5-15 minutes; it has absolutely no side effects and needs no preparation. It is indispensable to first assess pathological changes of the thyroid gland.
Several aspects are examined: the position and form, the volume in particular, the "texture” and the blood circulation in the tissue. Focal changes are found very often (e.g. cysts or lumps). A sonography scan can be essential to differentiate between harmless and suspicious lumps (possibly malignant ones that need further clarification). A digital archive of the results allows a direct comparison with findings from earlier examinations later on, e.g. to assess the growth of a lump.
Elastography is a new procedure to enhance diagnostic assessments of thyroid gland lumps.
Sonography scans of the carotis artery are used to examine two issues; the different parts of the artery wall are scrutinized in longitudinal and cross section view and the blood flowing through the artery is displayed and measured.
With this, even the slightest stenosis of the vessel can be detected. In case of heavy stenosis, the same examination will clarify the degree of the calcification. Turbulences and velocity changes in the blood flow can be identified by means of the “Doppler effect”, which is why the examination is also called “carotis Doppler examination”.
There is no need for the patient to prepare in any way. The examination takes about 10-20 minutes and has no side effects.
In some cases, it can be very difficult and technically challenging to display all parts of the vessel. In our estimation, however, this only applies to about 3% of all examinations.
The examination is an ideal tool to identify a stenosis in the case of patients with respective risk factors (e.g. smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, familiar disposition, etc.). It is obligatory to clarify any neurological symptoms and firmly established in internal/neurological diagnostics.
Echocardiography, Color duplex
This sonography screens and measures the functioning of the cardiac chambers, muscles, valves and the pericardium. Many cardio-vascular and lung diseases lead to (initially asymptomatic) disorders of the heart that can be revealed by this scan.
Echocardiography demands for special technical equipment: it shall display the tissue as detailed as possible (spatial resolution) as well as the partly very fast movements, of the valves in particular, in their chronological order (temporal resolution). In addition to that, the scan displays the blood flow in the chambers and past the valves and measures its direction and velocity (color duplex).
The patient is scanned lying on the left side. It takes about 10-20 minutes, needs no preparation and has no side effects.
Sonography scans of the heart have several purposes: in the case of patients with high blood pressure, the scan can reveal thickened cardiac walls (left ventricular hyperthrophy); it helps detect valve defects if previous stethoscopic examinations have revealed cardiac murmurs; in the event of an unclarified loss of energy and shortness of breath, a possible reduction of the contraction capacity of the muscles can be searched; patients that have suffered from an infarction can be screened to assess the muscle “scar” and identify potential clots; in the case of lung diseases, the blood pressure in the pulmonary circulation can be measured (“pulmonary hypertension”); etc..
Sonography scans of the abdominal organs are the most common sonography examinations. This might be why they are often considered to be “easy” and quickly done. This, however, is not generally true as the many different organs (liver, gall bladder, bile ducts, pancreas, left and right kidney, suprarenal glands, spleen, lymph nodes, large vessels with junctions, parts of the colon and the small intestine, bladder, ovaries, uterus, prostate gland) can, in fact, usually be scanned through the abdominal wall. To obtain appropriate results from a careful examination, though, it takes time and the specialized expertise of the physician doing the scan.
Patients are examined while lying on their back. The scan takes about 10-30 minutes. In particular cases or for patients with certain anatomic conditions (e.g. overweight), it might be advisable to do the examination with an empty stomach in the morning.
The elastography of the liver is a new and additional procedure to assess the degree of frequent liver diseases (fatty liver, fibrosis).
Abdominal and leg vessels
Vascular diagnostics address risk patients that, due to a personal or familiar disposition (e.g. smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol), may have to deal with arterial diseases in the future or are already suffering from such (e.g. stroke, cardiac infarction, intermittent claudication). Diseases of the venous system (e.g. varicose veins, thrombosis) are examined as well.
The leg arteries and veins are screened with a special color duplex transducer. This procedure is similar to the carotis screening. The arterial walls are examined to find stenoses (plaques) and, if found, the blood flow velocity is measured (color duplex) to define the stenosis degree. The veins are examined to find possible clots (thromboses), but the examination can also be used to determine the functionality of the venous valves.
All of these examinations are done using state-o-the-art ultrasound diagnostics (color duplex sonography). Depending on the issue in question, the screening takes about 15-30 minutes and there is no need for any preparation.