Are routine ultrasound screenings necessary?

We all need to get certain medical tests as we get older, but is there any reason to have a routine ultrasound screening?

If you believe the ads, a quick screening at a local test center could "save your life" by spotting a blocked artery or aortic aneurysm,maybe even ovarian cancer.

Dr. John Swartzberg, at the U.C. Berkeley Wellness Letter wants you to ignore the ads. So what could be wrong with getting an ultrasound screening test?

"These are excellent tests in selected people. They're excellent tests to follow-up on problems, but for the average person, there's no evidence that these tests are helpful," Dr. Swartzberg says.

And there can be a number of downsides - not the least of which is that insurance probably won't pay for them.

"When you screen low-risk people, you're unlikely to find something and the risk of getting what we call "false-positive" goes way up. The risk of the test showing something that's really not there goes way up," Swartzberg adds.

My advice: Rather than going to a screening center, talk to your doctor about the tests you really need.

More Information:

Ultrasound packages