Thyroid ultrasound

Definition

A thyroid ultrasound is an imaging method to see the thyroid, a gland in the neck that regulates metabolism.

How the Test is Performed

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

The test is done in this way:

How to Prepare for the Test

No special preparation is necessary for this test.

How the Test will Feel

You should feel very little discomfort with this test. The gel may be cold.

Why the Test is Performed

A thyroid ultrasound is usually done when physical exam shows any of these findings:

Ultrasound is also often used to guide the needle in biopsies of:

Normal Results

A normal result will show that the thyroid has a normal size, shape, and position.

What Abnormal Results Mean

Abnormal results may be due to:

Your health care provider can use these results and the results of other tests to direct your care.

Risks

There are no documented risks of ultrasound.


Review Date: 2/3/2016
Reviewed By: Brent Wisse, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology & Nutrition, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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