Abdominal sonography is an ultrasound examination of the abdominal cavity. It is used to diagnose and monitor abdominal diseases. It can be used to assess the abdominal organs of the liver and gall bladder, spleen, kidneys, pancreas, vessels such as the aorta or the pelvic arteries and veins, as well as the bladder and sometimes even the sexual organs in the pelvis such as the prostate or uterus.
Enlarged lymph nodes can also be visualised. Nowadays, with the help of contrast media, sonography can also be used to determine liver nodules in more detail without having to perform a liver puncture.
Free fluid in the abdominal cavity can also be detected by ultrasound. The hollow organs of the intestine and stomach cannot be examined well by sonography. For this, you need a gastroscopy or colonoscopy.
The patient should not have eaten or drunk before the examination, otherwise the organs cannot be visualised well. The patient should lie on his back with his arms and legs stretched out. Since the liver and spleen are actually located in the chest rather than the abdomen, the patient sometimes has to take a deep breath and hold it for a short time to get a better assessment.
If there are any unclear or conspicuous findings during the examination, we will discuss with you which further examination is useful for clarification here.
Because of its position in the front of the neck, the thyroid gland can be examined very well by sonography. Its size, structure, nodules and cysts can be easily identified, and the volume can be calculated if thyroid goiter is suspected. Initial indications of the causes of hyper- or hypofunction in the case of abnormal laboratory values can also be easily identified. Depending on the density of the tissue and the structure of the nodules, conclusions can be drawn as to whether a scintigraphic examination is necessary for further clarification of nodules >1 cm in size or at what intervals control examinations of the thyroid gland are necessary. The sonography of the thyroid gland is also well suited for the clarification of a globus sensation.
It is not necessary to be fasting for thyroid ultrasound.
Examination of the carotid artery (carotid Doppler examination)
The examination of the carotid artery serves to diagnose calcifications and constrictions at an early stage and to assess how to proceed in this respect. If dizziness or fainting spells occur, a sonography of the carotid arteries should also be carried out and if the findings are conspicuous, a referral to a neurologist for further diagnosis should be made. The assessment of the vessel wall can be carried out very precisely during this examination and allows conclusions to be drawn about the entire vascular system.
Sonography of the carotid arteries is carried out in a similar way to the thyroid examination, with the patient in a supine position and the neck slightly hyperextended. The examiner sits behind the patient’s head and can thus easily visualise the carotid arteries and assess the cervical lymph nodes.
Echocardiography (ultrasound of the heart)
Echocardiography is also called cardiac echo. It is one of the most important examinations of the heart. It can be used to diagnose or rule out diseases of the heart. For the examination, the ultrasound probe is placed on the chest from the outside. The ultrasound image produced in this way shows the shape of the heart and makes it possible, among other things, to assess the size of the heart chambers, the function of the heart valves or the thickness of the heart muscle. In addition, it is possible to assess the direction of flow of blood into the different chambers and the pumping function of the heart. Echocardiography is often performed when blood pressure is high to assess whether there is damage to the heart. After a heart attack, it is possible to assess the wall movements of the heart and, if heart weakness is suspected, the valve function. Like all sonographies, the examination does not involve radiation and is painless.