Radiology. Medical Care
Modern equipment for accurate diagnoses.
Our clinic´s radiological specialist centre offers modern image diagnostics with and without x-rays. The equipment is a highlight, with an extremely modern magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner. A great advantage of the MRI scanner is that no x-rays are needed to generate images. Our clinic is equipped with conventional x-ray machines, a spiral computer tomography scanner and a fluoroscopy angiography unit for further radiological diagnostics. Our clinic conducts minimally invasive radiological procedures with the aid of image guidance methods, so-called interventional radiology, e.g., for pain syndromes.
Diagnostic tomography (imaging in "slices" - MRI & CT).
Approximately 80 % of all diseases are diagnosed using diagnostic imaging procedures. CT and MRI in particular have become highly important in recent years thanks to innovative technological advances. In addition to the significant strides forward in terms of medical diagnostics, these advances have also considerable improved patient comfort. For example, considerably less time needs to be spent in "tunnels", which themselves are no longer nearly as narrow as they were.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) has the major advantage of making it possible to take images inside the human body without ionising radiation. Diagnostic imaging using MRI is particularly useful for disorders of the central nervous systems (brain, spinal cord) and musculoskeletal system (joints, muscles, tendons, bones, intervertebral discs, etc.).
When diagnosing disorders of the abdominal organs, MRI used in conjunction with endoscopy and ultrasound can provide important information, for example, by detecting tumours or inflammatory disorders. A high-resolution MRI can also be used to diagnose problems with bowel movements. The diagnosis of vascular disorders has been transformed in recent years by further developments in MRI technology. "Invasive" catheterisations in the arteries of the neck and legs are now rarely needed for diagnostic purposes alone.
Computed tomography (CT)
CT (computed tomography) makes it possible to obtain a fast and confident diagnosis for internal organs and the brain, especially in emergencies. This is because CT takes considerably less time to perform than MRI. In everyday clinical practice, CT is primarily used to diagnose diseases of the organs in the chest (e.g. lungs), as well as the abdominal organs and skeletal system.
Usage of contrast media
Contrast media may be used with both MRIs and CTs in order to improve imaging of disease processes or detect such processes at all. Generally, contrast media are injected into a vein in the arm. The contrast media used for MRI and CT scans are very different and are not comparable to each other. The contrast media used are generally safe. However, they may occassionally cause side effects such as allergic reactions.
Minimally invasive radiological procedures.
Therapeutic radiological measures, also known as interventional procedures, are in most cases performed under local anaesthesia. General anaesthesia is only extremely rarely required. These procedures are generally well tolerated by the patient and some can even be performed on an outpatient basis.
For interventions involving the arteries, we use special radiological techniques that employ catheters and contrast media. In these procedures, the catheter is positioned within the vascular system, in most cases via a puncture site in the groin. The contrast medium is then injected via the catheter (angiography).
This method can be used to detect with accuracy problems such as areas of abnormal narrowing in the blood vessels that may cause reduced blood flow. These areas of narrowing may then, if possible, be widened during the same procedure using a balloon (angioplasty) or a metal support (stent). After the procedure, a pressure bandage is placed on the puncture site in the groin. Bed rest of up to 24 hours will also be necessary, depending on the test.
Inserting catheters (e.g. ports).
Port systems are primarily implanted in cancer patients requiring chemotherapy. Port systems provide the doctor with safe vascular access, particularly for patients with "bad veins". The danger of aggressive chemotherapy agents "leaking out" is considerably reduced. Because the tube is positioned directly in the body's central venous system, accompanying problems such as extremely painful irritation of the smaller veins are avoided. Port reservoirs are placed beneath the skin by a surgeon and can remain there for periods of up to years. There are usually no restrictions on everyday activities for people with ports.
Ports are in most cases implanted on an outpatient basis. The same applies for the implantation of special catheter systems for dialysis.
Tissue samples (biopsies) are often needed to be able evaluate diseased tissue under the microscope. Among other things, the pathologist will assess whether a mass is benign or malignant. For tumorous tissue, the pathologist will also characterise the tumorous tissue. This is necessary in order to make it possible to decide on how to proceed with treatment. CT can be used to perform CT-guided biopsies. This may be indicated, for example, when the diseased mass cannot be reached using other procedures (ultrasound or endoscopy).
The CT makes it possible to image the diseased area with high precision and can at the same time indicate to the doctor performing the procedure the exact position of the needle. This results in a very high "hit rate", even in areas that are difficult to access. Any complications occurring during the procedure can be quickly recognised and resolved. Depending on the area from which the biopsy is to be taken, biopsies can also be performed on an outpatient basis. However, a short stay in hospital may be necessary, particularly when taking biopsies from the lungs.
If it is not possible to operate, tumorous disorders, especially in the liver, lungs, bones and kidneys, can in some cases be treated using minimally invasive procedures under local anaesthesia. The degree to which chemotherapy or radiotherapy will be also required will depend on the location, nature and extent of the tumour. Apart from destruction of the tumour using heat (thermal ablation), the radiological procedures available also include a combined approach involving the local delivery of chemotherapy agents and closure of the blood vessels supplying the tumour (chemoembolisation). These procedures are not currently employed directly within this Clinic. However, we do collaborate closely with centres nearby.