An ultrasound is a painless procedure that uses sound waves to generate images of the inside of your body. A thyroid ultrasound is used to examine the thyroid gland for abnormalities, including:
● goiter (enlarged thyroid gland)
● acute/subacute thyroiditis (inflamation of thyroid gland)
● autoimmune thyroiditis
Uses for a thyroid ultrasound
A thyroid ultrasound may be ordered if a thyroid function test is abnormal (underactive or overactive thyroid gland) or if your doctor feels a growth on your thyroid while examining your neck.
Ultrasounds may also be used if your doctor needs to take a biopsy of your thyroid or surrounding tissues to test for any existing conditions.
How can a thyroid ultrasound help with diagnosis?
An ultrasound can give your doctor a lot of valuable information, such as:
● dimensions of thyroid gland
● if a growth is fluid-filled or solid
● the number of growths
● where the growths are located
● whether a growth has distinct boundaries
● blood flow to the growth
● Ultrasound can also detect a goiter, largening of the thyroid gland.
Follow-up after a thyroid ultrasound
You may not need any additional care if the ultrasound shows no abnormalities.
If you have a family history of thyroid abnormalities or related conditions, your doctor may ask you to have thyroid ultrasounds more frequently in order to detect any symptoms of a thyroid-related condition early on.
If your ultrasound does reveal abnormalities, your doctor may order follow-up tests to narrow down the conditions that may be causing these abnormalities. If you have unsuspicious cysts or nodules you may need follow-up ultrasounds in every 6 months time.
Your doctor may recommend ultrasound guided fine needle aspiration biopsy if you are diagnosed with a suspicious nodule. And if the biopsy reveals a cancer present, a surgery may be recommended to remove it.
Ultrasounds are quick, painless, procedures, and can help you detect conditions or early stages of cancers. Talk to your doctor if you believe you have a family history of thyroid issues or are concerned about a possible thyroid condition in order to initiate preventive ultrasound care.