Thyroid Ultrasound Testing
- Posted on: Nov 15 2016
The thyroid gland, located in the front of the neck just above the collarbones with one lobe on either side of the neck, is of particular interest for us at Park Avenue Endocrinology & Nutrition. It secretes the hormones that regulate growth and development through the rate of metabolism. To test the thyroid for nodules (lumps) or other irregularities, we use thyroid ultrasound.
What is thyroid ultrasound testing?
Our ultrasound testing uses sound waves to produce images of the thyroid gland. Through these images, we can assess the size, shape, structure, and any abnormalities with the thyroid. We can measure the size of any nodules on the thyroid, and we can evaluate variations in the tissue such as enlargement caused by goiter or decrease in size due to inflammation. Ultrasound testing can also differentiate between solid, fluid filled, or complex types of thyroid nodules.
What issues prompt us to perform a thyroid ultrasound?
When the team at Park Avenue Endocrinology & Nutrition comes across one of the following conditions, we usually will recommend ultrasound:
- If the patient has a swallowing disorder
- If a thyroid nodule can be felt through physical examination
- If there is suspicion of a hormonal disorder
- If you are at high risk for thyroid cancer, or if you’ve had radiation therapy to the neck during childhood
- To evaluate change in the size of the thyroid nodule during follow-up appointments
- To monitor your condition after surgery for removal of the thyroid
How does thyroid ultrasound work?
Ultrasound produces pictures of the inside of the body using sound waves. Ultrasound imaging, also known as ultrasound scanning or sonography, involves the use of a small transducer (probe) and ultrasound gel placed directly on the skin. High-frequency sound waves are transmitted from the transducer through the gel down into the body. The transducer then collects the sounds that bounce back and a computer creates an image from those sounds. Unlike x-rays, there is no ionizing radiation in ultrasound, so there is no radiation exposure to the patient. Also, because the images are captured in real-time, we can see the structure of the thyroid, as well as blood flow, with natural movement.
What can’t be felt
It is very common for patchy areas or nodules to develop in the thyroid that may or may not be felt through the skin surface. About five to 10 percent of adults have lumps in their thyroid that a doctor can feel in an exam. We use ultrasound to identify nodules we cannot feel through the skin. Ultrasound shows nodules in as many as 70 percent of adults, depending on the age group. Most of these are benign growths that pose no risk, but some are true tumors of the thyroid and demand further diagnosis or treatment.
Thyroid ultrasound testing is just one tool we use to help our patients manage conditions that may arise from an improperly functioning thyroid gland. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, call Park Avenue Endocrinology & Nutrition at 212-772-7628.
Posted in: Thyroid