A Guide To Thyroid Ultrasound Scans

If you have possible thyroid problems, then you might need an ultrasound scan. These scans enable medical professionals to take an internal look at your thyroid and the area around it to spot potential problems.

However, you can have one of two types of scans. How do these scans work and what do they do?

Investigative Thyroid Ultrasound Scans

In many cases, patients initially have a standard investigative scan of their thyroid. Here, a sonographer uses an ultrasound machine to view the thyroid and to take images of it. They get a picture of your thyroid, the areas around it, and its blood supply.

These standard scans are used for various reasons. For example, you might have a scan on this part of your body if you have a lump in your neck. Your doctor can use a scan to see the precise location of the lump. They can establish if it is part of the thyroid or if it is close to it.

Doctors also use these scans to check to see if patients have other lumps in the area that aren't obvious in a physical exam. Patients sometimes have regular scans to check on the size of a lump and to see if it has changed in any way.

In some cases, doctors use a scan to learn more about a suspicious lump. For example, an ultrasound can show if a lump on a thyroid is benign or if it might need further investigation because it looks suspicious. If the scan shows any anomalies, then you're likely to need further tests or investigative procedures.

Ultrasound-Guided Aspiration

Doctors also use ultrasound scans as part of a different thyroid investigation. If they suspect that you might have a malignant lump in your neck, or if a previous scan raised some concerns, then you might need to have an ultrasound-guided aspiration biopsy procedure.

Here, the scan makes it easier to take a fine-needle biopsy of a lump in your neck. Your sonographer can put up an image of the area on their screen. This image helps accurately pinpoint the biopsy site so that the person doing the procedure can see where the needle needs to go. They get a visual guide during the procedure.

In some cases, you'll be booked in for an ultrasound-guided aspiration as a separate test. However, sometimes, sonographers will do a biopsy straight after your initial scan if they think that your problem needs further tests. This saves you from having to come back for another appointment.

For more information about ultrasound scans, contact an imaging center