What is Thyroid Ultrasonography?
Thyroid ultrasonography is a common procedure that is available in Tampa to diagnose various thyroid conditions. Ultrasonography uses ultrasound waves to create a detailed image of the glands in your neck. The ultrasound procedure is non-invasive, meaning that no incisions or anesthesia are needed, and it is performed on an outpatient basis, so you can go home immediately after the ultrasound. Ultrasound for thyroid conditions works by emitting sound waves through your skin using a special device. Once the sound waves reach your thyroid, they bounce back to the device. The data is compiled by a computer to create an image on a monitor.
Benefits of Thyroid Ultrasonography
Endocrinologists recommend thyroid ultrasonography for many patients in Tampa because the technology is well-proven and provides several benefits, both for the clinician and patient. Your endocrinologist explains why the test is being recommended for your care. Some of the benefits of a thyroid ultrasound test are:
- Non-invasive and no needles required
- Images are produced in real-time
- Covered by most insurances
- Displays information that is not available through other tests, such as x-rays
- Guides treatment recommendations
- Detects nodules that interfere with thyroid function and efficacy of treatments
When is Thyroid Ultrasonography Recommended?
Your endocrinologist may recommend a thyroid ultrasonography test if nodules or lumps are detected during a physical examination. Occasionally, thyroid ultrasound is recommended if you are not responding as expected to treatment. The test may reveal that the lump is attached to your thyroid or other structures in your neck. Once your endocrinologist finds the nodule, the ultrasound allows for an in-depth evaluation of the size, shape, location, and other characteristics that help guide the direction of treatment. Your endocrinologist may also use thyroid ultrasonography to monitor a lump on your thyroid to determine if the nodule is growing.
Detecting Thyroid Cancer with Ultrasound
Thyroid ultrasonography is also recommended when your endocrinologist suspects cancer of the thyroid. Cancer is a term that intimidates many people in Tampa, yet not all cancers are life-threatening or at risk of spreading to other areas of the body. If your endocrinologist suspects, cancer, details will be provided about the possible type of cancer and how it may affect your health.
Preparing for Your Thyroid Ultrasound in Tampa
Preparing for your ultrasound is easy. First, ask your endocrinologist any questions and share your concerns openly. You want to feel relaxed during the ultrasound. Make sure to dress comfortably so that you are able to lay down and stay still during the test. You will need to remove any jewelry prior to the procedure, so you may want to limit what you wear to the appointment. Lotions and other skincare products may interfere with the procedure and will be removed prior to the test.
Thyroid Ultrasonography Procedure
You will lay down on an examination table for your thyroid ultrasonography. A gel is applied to your neck area to help the ultrasound device move smoothly across your skin. The handpiece is moved very slowly to ensure that your endocrinologist sees the necessary level of detail. The device may be moved around the same area several times to get a good visual representation. You may be able to see the monitor during the test, and the technician may describe what you are seeing. After the ultrasound is complete, your neck is cleaned to remove the gel, and you are free to go home.
Thyroid Ultrasound for Biopsies
Your Tampa endocrinologist may recommend a biopsy of the nodule around your thyroid to determine if it is benign or malignant. The biopsy may be performed during the exploratory ultrasound or as a separate procedure. The ultrasound is used to guide the position of the needle that is used to collect tissue from the nodule. The area is numbed with local or topical anesthesia before the needle is inserted. The sample is sent to a lab for evaluation, and results are sent to your endocrinologist.
Results of Your Thyroid Ultrasonography Test
The results of your thyroid ultrasonography are used for the diagnostic and treatment process. Your Tampa endocrinologist reviews the results and schedules a follow-up appointment to discuss the findings. The discussion will include a detailed explanation about the findings, significance to your overall health, and appropriate treatment options. In some cases, nodules and lumps do not require immediate interventions. Rather, your endocrinologist may recommend periodic thyroid ultrasound tests to monitor the lump if the test determines that the nodule is not significantly interfering with thyroid function. In other cases, the nodule may need to be removed. In rare cases, thyroid function is severely disrupted by nodules, and the entire thyroid may need to be removed. If the thyroid ultrasound and biopsy revealed that the growth is cancerous, your endocrinologist works with you to develop a treatment plan that may include a referral to an oncologist.