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The different tissues of our body are made up of different degrees of radiological density and will thus absorb X-rays in different ways. Within a split second, an image of the inside of our body is generated – nowadays at a very low radiation exposure. The X-ray apparatuses of the Radiology Center produce radiographs in top digital quality immediately after they have been taken.
In addition to X-ray, the wide range of radiology includes sonography (ultrasound), the special process of computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
All examinations are done in two steps:
- producing image data and
- interpreting the information
X-rays are generated by using high tension current in X-ray tubes. X-rays are ionizing rays, which are able to eliminate electrons from atoms or molecules. X-rays are only applied by strictly observing radiation protection guidelines and when the examination is clinically justified. The amount of radiation will differ according to the individual needs of the patient and the information required.
Seen from a practical viewpoint, X-rays radiate through the human body in a similar way as sunrays shine through paper and flower petals. When radiation is applied, the different tissues of the human body generate varying intensities of shades, appearing in shades of gray, black and white on the radiograph. With all diseases of the musculoskeletal system (e.g. bone fracture) or of the lung (e.g. pneumonia), radiology is the method of first choice.
Similar to taking photos with a flash, with the radiograph a short X-ray flash is generated and running through the patient and exposing a sensitive film (detector) on the other side of the patient. The X-rayed organs cast a shadow on the film.
The Radiology Center offers the following X-ray examinations:
- X-rays of lungs, abdomen and bones
Similar to videotaping, in fluoroscopy extremely fast detectors generate many sequential images from a series of X-ray flashes.
- The Radiology Center offers the following examinations:
angiography, interventional radiology
With angiography, a contrast agent is administered. Then, even faster than with radioscopy, images are generated. This makes it possible to carry out of minimally invasive interventions on blood vessels (angioplasty, balloon dilatation, stenting).
Sonography is the application of ultrasound to generate images. The ultrasonic waves are generated and measured with the help of piezo-electric crystals. The different tissues of the human body reflect and disperse sound waves of different strengths. From the reflected signals, images are computed. When the sound waves hit a moving area (like blood cells in motion), they are reflected in a modified frequency (i.e. Doppler effect).
With the help of the so-called Doppler sonography, the direction as well as the flow rate of the blood stream can be determined. It is also possible, with the active help of the patient, to evaluate the motility of organs, joints and tendons in real-time.
Ultrasound examinations do not require X-ray radiation. Therefore, pregnant women and children can safely undergo these examinations.
- Abdominal sonography: liver, gall bladder, pancreas, spleen, kidneys, urinary bladder, prostate, uterus, ovaries
- Near-surface sonography for small parts: Lymph nodes, thyroid gland, testicles, joints, muscles, breast
- Vaginal sonography: uterus, ovaries
- Doppler sonography: carotis (cervical artery), aorta, arteries of the leg, veins
In most cases, it is sufficient to use only sonography to examine young women or to diagnose cysts. Moreover, it is an important addition for every mammogram and a method of first choice when examining between scheduled mammograms.
Digital mammography is the state-of-the-art procedure for early breast cancer detection.
At present, mammography is the most widespread and established – albeit not unerring – method for early diagnosis of breast cancer. Malignant changes in the breast can be detected with high accuracy before they are tactual as nodes or rigidification. A mammogram cannot prevent breast cancer. However, it is applied for the earliest possible diagnosis of breast cancer, as this disease can be treated much better when it is diagnosed at a very early stage.To increase the quality and thus improve the rate of detection, a second, independent appraisal done by another radiologist, will be carried out (i.e.double appraisal) in all cases of mammograms.
MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is an additional method gaining more and more importance for diagnosing the state of health of the breast. It is applied when for instance a node has been found in the breast that cannot be completely assessed by means of ultrasound and mammography. MR mammography cannot be regarded as a replacement for the annual mammogram examination for early detectionof breast cancer. In cases where the patient has extraordinarily dense breast tissue and normal mammography is therefore severely limited in its validity, the patient and the attending doctor will make the decision to carry out MR mammography instead of digital mammography.
MR mammography can also be applied to diagnose any complications after breast implants (rupture of the implant, etc). In most cases, the use of contrast agents (gadolinium) is required to distinguish between healthy and diseased tissue.
Interventions: Drainage and Pain Therapy
- Drainage: ultrasound targeted insertion of a thin catheter by means of a fine needle enables the smooth drainage of pathological accumulation of liquid under local anesthesia. This method is applied when e.g. that accumulation of liquid cannot be treated sufficiently by pharmaceuticals.
- Pain therapy: ultrasound targeted degeneration (i.e. around the nerve fiber) infiltrations for pain treatment of slipped disks, … impingement syndromes (painful restrictions of movement, e.g. of the shoulder) and after injuries or operations.
Interventions: Biopsy and Preoperative Marking
Patients with unclear breast diagnoses will be offered the following:
image guided sampling of tissue (biopsy) under local anesthesia during sonography, mammography or MR mammography. This may avoid more stressful surgical interventions under general anesthesia. Marking of a lesion to be removed with a wire hook before/ instead of surgery so the healthy breast can be preserved and is treated with utmost care.