Understanding Thyroid Ultrasounds
Posted by Premier Ultrasound
Ultrasound is the preferred imaging diagnostic test for thyroid nodules. A thyroid nodule is a lump that has formed inside your thyroid, which is a butterfly-shaped gland, located at the base of your neck. The only way a thyroid nodule is detected is during routine medical exam done by your doctor or incidentally seen on a different imaging exam. Fortunately, 95% of nodules are benign, however, ultrasounds are used to discover the nodules that have a chance of becoming cancerous. The test takes about 30 minutes and the results can be determined very quickly.
Ultrasounds are able to display an image of the thyroid and detect whether or not the nodule is benign (non-cancerous). The characteristics for most benign nodules are sharp edges around the nodule, nodules filled with liquid and not tissue, multiple nodules located on the thyroid, as well as no blood flowing throughout the nodule. If your nodule is benign, you may begin your normal activities after the procedure and you will not need a follow up with your doctor after the exam.
Potential Cancerous Nodules
If the ultrasound shows a potentially cancerous nodule, then a ultrasound guided fine needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) is the preferred method of tissue sampling. This test takes 30 seconds, is pain free and also very accurate. During this test, a thin needle is inserted into abnormal tissue and sample cells are extracted out in order to be observed and determined whether they are malignant or not. Results are known within 24 hours.
How to Prepare and What to Expect
There is no special preparation needed for this particular ultrasound except to remove all of your jewelry from your head and neck. You should feel no intense discomfort during the exam; however, some people notice that the gel placed on their neck is quite cold (good thing Premier Ultrasound Services warm their gel!). It is a very well tolerated exam, some might even fall asleep! Ultrasound transducers use no radiation; therefore it is very safe and involves no risk!
For more information on ultrasound procedures and to schedule an appointment, contact Premier Ultrasound Services online or at 800-346-2111 today!