Ultrasound can be used to check for an overactive or hypoactive gland. An ultrasound may also be ordered if your doctor considers a thyroid tumor when examining the neck. Thyroid ultrasound is used to look at the thyroid, a gland located in the neck that regulates metabolism and conducted at Ultrasound clinics.
How is Ultrasound Performed?
The ultrasound is a painless method that uses sound waves to create images from inside the body. The examination is conducted at the ultrasound lab or clinic.
The patient lies with the neck extended beyond its usual limit (hyperextended). The radiologist applies a lubricating gel on the neck and then passes a wand, called a transducer, over the area.
The transducer releases sound waves, which pass through the body and bounce from the area under study (in this case, the thyroid gland). A computer analyzes the pattern that sound waves create when they bounce and make an image.
Why Thyroid Ultrasound?
Ultrasound Test is safe and non-painful and produces images of the interior of the body using sound waves. It involves the use of a small transducer (probe) and an ultrasound gel for exposing the body to high-frequency acoustic waves. The transducer picks up the bouncing sounds, and a computer then uses those sound waves to create an image.
Ultrasound examinations do not use ionizing radiation (as used on x-rays). Since the ultrasound images are captured in real-time, they can show the structure and movement of the internal organs of the body, as well as the blood flowing through the blood vessels.
Ultrasound imaging is a non-invasive medical examination that helps doctors diagnose and treat medical conditions.
Thyroid Ultrasound Test produces images of the thyroid gland and adjacent structures in the neck. The thyroid gland is located in the front of the neck, just above the clavicle bone, and is butterfly shaped, with a lobe on each side of the neck connected by a narrow band of tissue. It is one of nine endocrine glands located in the body that produces and send hormones to the bloodstream.
Some of the Common Uses of the Procedure
Usually, the ultrasound of the thyroid is used:
- To determine if a lump in the neck originates in the thyroid or any adjacent structure
- To analyze the appearance of the nodules in the thyroid and thus determine if they are one of the most common benign nodules or if the nodule has characteristics that require a biopsy. If a biopsy is needed, fine-needle aspiration guided by ultrasound can help improve biopsy accuracy.
- To look for additional nodules in patients with one or more nodules palpated on a physical examination
- To see if a thyroid nodule has grown substantially over time
Since ultrasound provides real-time imaging (images that are continuously renewed), it can also be used to guide procedures such as aspiration biopsy, in which a needle is used to extract samples of cells from an abnormal area to be subjected to Laboratory analysis. Ultrasound is also used to aid the insertion of a catheter or other drainage device and helps ensure accurate placement and drainage of the fluid for diagnosis and relief of patient discomfort.