Belgium: an end to non-medical ultrasound scans?

Publié le : 21 February 2014

 The Belgian Conseil supérieur de la Santé (CSS – Senior Health Advisory Board) has just ruled in favour "of carrying out ultrasound scans during pregnancy solely for the purposes of screening, diagnosis and follow-up by doctors and technicians appropriately trained in this technique". This decision was taken following a request from Public Health Minister, Laurette Onkelinx (PS). 

And rightly so because non-medical ultrasound scans are becoming increasingly popular. The purpose of the latter? Essential for entertainment, as a souvenir or for commercial or emotional purposes. Psychology, toxicology, genetic, non-ionising radiation, gynaecological and ultrasound experts at the CSS therefore call for greater vigilance "due to the enhanced risks to the foetus associated with the thermal and mechanical effects of ultrasound scans". In fact, "in order to obtain images of the highest quality, some parts of the body of the foetus are exposed for longer periods to the ultrasound," explained the Advisory Board.  However, experts also pointed out that "the limited (occasional) medical use of this examination, when conducted as directed, is not harmful to the foetus". 
Finally, the CSS recommended "additional studies of the biological effects of ultrasound used for scanning purposes", since "there continues to be an element of uncertainty regarding long-term effects and repeated exposure, bearing in mind that the technology is constantly evolving". 

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