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Why Would A Doctor Order A Thyroid Ultrasound

Conditions That May Require An Ultrasound

What its like to get a Thyroid Ultrasound Exam

So why would your Doctor tell you that you need a thyroid ultrasound?

The vast majority of the time an ultrasound is ordered just to make sure that nothing is being missed and to cover all of the bases.

Don’t let the fact that your Doctor wants to get an ultrasound freak you out or cause anxiety.

Most of the time, your results will be “clean”.

Below you can find a list of the most common reasons that your Doctor is likely to order an ultrasound.

Where Is It Usually Performed

An ultrasound scan is usually carried out at a hospital, usually in the endocrinology Endocrinology “the branch of physiology and medicine concerned with endocrine glands and hormones” or radiology Radiology “the science that uses x-rays or nuclear radiation to diagnose and sometimes also treat diseases within the body” department. It is a non-invasive procedure that does not require any anaesthetic Anaesthetic “a substance that causes lack of feeling or awareness, dulling pain to permit surgery and other painful procedures” .

What Does A Thyroid Ultrasound Show

Ultrasound imaging is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. An ultrasound of the thyroid produces pictures of the thyroid gland and the adjacent structures in the neck. Ultrasound is very sensitive and shows many nodules that cannot be felt.

Keeping this in consideration, why would a doctor order a thyroid ultrasound?

A thyroid ultrasound may be ordered if a thyroid function test is abnormal or if you doctor feels a growth on your thyroid while examining your neck. An ultrasound can also check an underactive or overactive thyroid gland. You may receive a thyroid ultrasound as part of an overall physical exam.

Also, does a thyroid ultrasound show lymph nodes? In addition, ultrasound may detect more suspicious nodules that are not able to be detected on physical exam. Ultrasound may also identify abnormal lymph nodes around the thyroid gland, which could be evaluated at the same time as the thyroid nodule.

Beside above, can a thyroid ultrasound detect cancer?

Ultrasound. An ultrasound may show your doctor if a lump is filled with fluid or if it’s solid. A solid one is more likely to have cancerous cells, but you’ll still need more tests to find out. The ultrasound will also show the size and number of nodules on your thyroid.

What are the early signs and symptoms of thyroid cancer?

Thyroid Cancer: Symptoms and Signs

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What An Ultrasound Tells You

The ultrasound gives you information predominately about the shape, size and texture of your thyroid gland.

All of these variables can help you to determine what is happening in your thyroid gland.

For instance:

Maybe you’ve felt a lump or a bump on your thyroid gland. An ultrasound will help you to determine if this lump is something serious or something benign .

Maybe you’ve already had an ultrasound and you are following up on a thyroid nodule to see if it’s grown over time. If you’ve been diagnosed with a thyroid nodule before then you will probably need frequent testing and monitoring.

Maybe you’ve been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and your Doctor wants to evaluate for inflammation in your gland. An ultrasound can check to see if you have inflammation throughout your gland which may affect how you feel.

Maybe you are in the postpartum period and your Doctor suspects you may have postpartum thyroiditis. An ultrasound can help determine if you have inflammation in your gland which may cause symptoms such as depression or weight gain in the postpartum period.

A thyroid ultrasound will also give you information about the characteristics of thyroid nodules which can give you an idea as to how likely they are to be cancerous.

The good news is that because getting a thyroid ultrasound is so easy the treatment for thyroid cancer is effective up to 97% of the time.

Diagnosis Of Papillary Thyroid Cancer: How Is It Made

Why Would a Thyroid Doctor Order An Ultrasound?

The diagnosis of papillary thyroid cancer is usually a surprise to both the patient as well as the health care provider that discovers it. Identifying an expert in thyroid cancer surgery is the most important step! This is not a minor step. In fact, it is one of the most important tasks of a patient when they have received a diagnosis of papillary thyroid cancer. See what our patients say about us on our Google reviews and others including Health Grades and Rate MDs. See our reviews and 5 star ratings on .

When a patient, with a diagnosis of papillary thyroid cancer does present with symptoms, the most common symptom is a lump in the neck. Other symptoms which may occur with the diagnosis of papillary thyroid cancer may include changes in the quality of their voice, difficulty swallowing or breathing, and pain or tenderness in or around the neck or ear. More subtle symptoms of throat clearing and cough or an irritating feeling are sometimes seen. Any diagnosis of papillary thyroid cancer associated with change in voice, swallowing, breathing or pain are very serious symptoms and requires prompt and thorough evaluation. references include Tuttle RM, Ball DW, Byrd D, et al. Thyroid Carcinoma. J Natl Compr Canc Netw. 2010 Nov 8:1228-74. Changes in voice requires urgent evaluation and very expert thyroid surgery care.

  • Complete Medical History and Physical Examination
  • Genetic Testing only for an unclear diagnosis
  • Scans and Xrays
  • Thyroglobulin Antibody
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    What Is Molecular Profiling

    At UCLA, thyroid nodules with indeterminate biopsies are sent out for an additional molecular marker test. An indeterminate biopsy result is the gray zone where the risk of cancer is intermediate but cannot be ignored.

    Sometimes the biopsy result is reported as indeterminate. This means the cells are not normal, but there are not definite signs of cancer. When biopsies are indeterminate, the risk of thyroid cancer is 15-30%.

    In the past, to avoid missing a cancer, we recommended thyroid lobectomy to establish a definitive diagnosis. Now, we use molecular profiling. This refers to commercial DNA or RNA tests made specifically for indeterminate thyroid nodules. If the genetic profile appears benign, patients can avoid surgery and we simply watch the nodule over time with neck ultrasound.

    What Its Like To Get A Thyroid Ultrasound Exam

    If you have trouble swallowing, trouble breathing, have pain in your neck or notice a lump in your neck, your doctor may want you to get a thyroid ultrasound. The exam can help diagnose thyroid cancer, of which there will be an estimated 56,870 new cases in 2017 according to the American Cancer Society. A thyroid ultrasound is an extremely easy test, it involves no radiation, and it doesnt take long. If your doctor says you need a thyroid ultrasound exam, heres what to expect:

    To find out more about ultrasound, .

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    How Do I Prepare For A Nuclear Medicine Thyroid Scan

    Concentration of the radiopharmaceutical in the thyroid gland is affected by several factors. The most important of all is iodine, which will prevent the radiopharmaceutical entering the gland, resulting in poor scan images. If you have had a computed tomography scan requiring intravenous iodine contrast medium, please schedule your thyroid scan at least 68 weeks after the CT scan. High iodine-containing food, health supplements and medications should also be avoided before the scan. If you are unsure whether you are taking anything that may affect the scan, please talk to your doctor or the nuclear medicine facility.

    It is important that you let staff at the hospital or nuclear medicine facility where you are having the scan done know if you are pregnant or if you are breast-feeding.

    This study may not be suitable for pregnant women because of the radiation dose to the growing foetus. Please discuss this with your doctor.

    Women who are breast-feeding and people who are the primary or sole carer for small children may need to make special preparations after the test to stop breast-feeding for a short time and avoid close contact with young children. This is due to the small amount of radioactivity your body may release for a short time after the test. Your doctor or the nuclear medicine facility will instruct you on how to manage breast-feeding before and after the scan .

    How The Test Is Performed

    Basics of Thyroid Ultrasound

    Ultrasound is a painless method that uses sound waves to create images of the inside of the body. The test is often done in the ultrasound or radiology department. It also can be done in a clinic.

    The test is done in this way:

    • You lie down with your neck on a pillow or other soft support. Your neck is stretched slightly.
    • The ultrasound technician applies a water-based gel on your neck to help transmit the sound waves.
    • Next, the technician moves a wand, called a transducer, back and forth on the skin of your neck. The transducer gives off sound waves. The sound waves go through your body and bounce off the area being studied . A computer looks at the pattern that the sound waves create when bouncing back, and creates an image from them.

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    There Are Different Types Of Thyroid Cancer

    Thyroid cancer can be described as either:

    Well-differentiated tumors can be treated and can usually be cured.

    Poorly differentiated and undifferentiated tumors are less common. These tumors grow and spread quickly and have a poorer chance of recovery. Patients with anaplastic thyroid cancer should have molecular testing for a mutation in the BRAFgene.

    Medullary thyroid cancer is a neuroendocrine tumor that develops in C cells of the thyroid. The C cells make a hormone that helps maintain a healthy level of calcium in the blood.

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    Why Would A Doctor Order A Thyroid Sonogram What Does It Show

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    How Is Hashimotos Diagnosed

    It takes an average of 10 years to be diagnosed with Hashimotos between the start of the autoimmune attack on the thyroid gland, and when the person is diagnosed.

    This is because conventional medicine doctors will only test ones TSH levels, but they wont be elevated until Stage 4. There are better tests that are covered by insurance that can reveal thyroid disease up to a decade before a change in TSH is detected. However, most doctors wont run these tests until a change in TSH is seen. It is really quite backward!

    The longer this immune response is in place, the more thyroid damage occurs and the greater the likelihood of the person progressing to hypothyroidism, where the thyroid gland becomes so damaged, that it is no longer able to make enough thyroid hormone. If we could detect the condition earlier, we could prevent the damage ! The most helpful tests for diagnosing Hashimotos include thyroid antibody tests and thyroid ultrasounds.

    Left unbalanced, the immune system may go on to attack different parts of the body, leading to the development of other autoimmune conditions.

    There are no current treatment recommendations or guidelines in the world of conventional medicine to address the immune system attack on the thyroid gland. Rather, the focus is on restoring normal thyroid hormone levels.

    Its akin to pouring more water into a bucket with a hole in it, without plugging up the leak!

    Reasons Doctors Use Ultrasound

    Why Would a Thyroid Doctor Order An Ultrasound?

      Ultrasound uses sound waves to help your doctor “see” inside your body. Simply moving a sound wave generatorcalled a transducerover your skin makes sounds waves go through your body. When sound waves hit tissue, fluid or bones, they bounce back to the transducer. It then converts them into images your doctor can see on a monitor.

      Doctors like to use ultrasound because it’s safe and effective. It does not involve X-rays. It also can create many different types of images. From the patient’s point of view, ultrasound is pain-free and requires no special preparation.

      Common uses of ultrasound are:

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      What Your Ultrasound Results Mean

      While you have the test, your ultrasound technician may talk to you about what they see during the exam. However, only your doctor will be able to confirm and diagnose any findings from the test. Here are some of the terms you may hear in your results:


      A thyroid gland is about the size of a small plum and has two lobes: left and right. Your ultrasound results will indicate which lobe has abnormalities.


      A thyroid nodule is an abnormal clump or growth of cells that creates a lump on the gland. Most are benign, which means they are noncancerous. Your radiologist may discuss the following characteristics to describe your nodules:

      • Shape


        Some people have small calcium deposits in thyroid nodules. They tend to show up as bright spots on ultrasound. These calcium deposits can sometimes indicate papillary thyroid cancer, which is the most common type of thyroid cancer. You may see the term âechogenic fociâ about microcalcifications.

        Do not panic if your doctor orders a thyroid ultrasound. Thyroid cancer is less common than other cancers, and remember, most nodules are benign! Furthermore, an enlarged thyroid gland is often a sign of hypo- or hyperthyroidism instead of a tumor. While a diagnosis of any cancer is devastating, thyroid cancer treatment is quite successful.

        What Does The Equipment Look Like

        Ultrasound scanners consist of a computer console, video display screen and an attached transducer. The transducer is a small hand-held device that resembles a microphone. Some exams may use different transducers during a single exam. The transducer sends out inaudible, high-frequency sound waves into the body and then listens for the returning echoes. The principles are similar to sonar used by boats and submarines.

        The technologist applies a small amount of gel to the area under examination and places the transducer there. The gel allows sound waves to travel back and forth between the transducer and the area under examination. The ultrasound image is immediately visible on a video display screen that looks like a computer monitor. The computer creates the image based on the loudness , pitch and time it takes for the ultrasound signal to return to the transducer. It also takes into account what type of body structure and/or tissue the sound is traveling through.

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        How Much Does It Cost

        Ultrasounds, and other advanced imaging techniques such as CT scans, are almost always covered by insurance.

        What this means for you is that you will probably only have to pay whatever your co-pay is for the procedure.

        The amount that you pay for the co-pay will largely depend on what type of insurance plan that you have.

        The good news is that an ultrasound is usually far cheaper when compared to other tests such as an MRI or a CT scan, but a little more expensive than tests like a regular plain film x-ray.

        The total cost will range somewhere between $100 and $1,000 dollars depending on these factors.

        In some cases, if you don’t have insurance, you may be able to get a discounted cash price which may only cost a few hundred dollars.

        The cash price is often cheaper because hospitals tend to overcharge because they know they typically only get a fraction of what they ask for from the insurance company.

        But if you can provide cash up front then they are guaranteed some amount.

        This may be worth looking into depending on your situation!

        What Is A Thyroid Goiter

        Neck Ultrasonography: What Can You Really See and How Can It Help Your Practice?

        Thyroid goiter is a condition where there is an abnormal enlargement of your thyroid gland. The photo here shows how many thyroid goiters look, which is like the neck is swolen and fat. When you touch it, you can tell it isnât fat since it is firm and doesnât move much. Most thyroid goiters are painless, but they may produce symptoms due to their size itself. The most common symptom from a thyroid goiter is a lump in the neck. Other symptoms from a large thyroid goiter may include a sense of a lump in the throat, difficultly swallowing, difficulty breathing and even in extreme cases, voice changes and even vocal cord paralysis.

        World wide, the most common cause of thyroid goiter is in locations where iodine in the diet is low or non-existent. This was similarly the case in the United States where thyroid goiter was commonplace until the contemporary iodination of table salt. Since then, the incidence of thyroid goiters have drastically been reduced in the United States.

        Today, in the United States, thyroid goiter is more commonly associated with too much production of thyroid hormone , too little production of thyroid hormone , or multiple nodules within the thyroid gland itself .

        There are two autoimmune conditions that can be causes of thyroid goiter.

        Hashimotoâs thyroiditis.

        Graveâs disease.

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