The thyroid gland produces a hormone called thyroxine which controls the body’s conversion of food into energy (metabolism). An ultrasound can determine the size and shape of the thyroid gland. Changes in size, shape and the appearance of lumps on the thyroid gland can be assessed using the ultrasound images. Lumps in the thyroid are common and are easily treated in most cases.
Ultrasounds are performed by specialist staff called Sonographers. All X-Ray & Imaging Sonographers have extensive clinical ultrasound experience.
Thyroid examinations are usually very quick and cause no pain or discomfort. You do not normally have to change clothes as long as your neck is exposed. You will be asked to lie down and extend your neck to expose your throat area. The Sonographer will apply a gel to the front of your neck and pass a marker pen shaped instrument called a transducer over the area where gel is applied. An image of your thyroid gland along with several other glands that lie in or around the thyroid should appear on a screen. Once the Sonographer is satisfied that the images are accurate your examination is over. A Thyroid Ultrasound examination usually only takes around 30 minutes to perform. Once you have your films you are finished. Remember to take your films to your next doctor’s appointment. In most cases the whole process takes less than an hour from entering the building and leaving with your results.
Other than the initial cool feeling of the gel there should be no pain or discomfort felt during a thyroid ultrasound examination.
The ultrasound images can show the size and shape of the thyroid but not the function of it. The composition of lumps can be assessed to see if there is more investigation required. Lumps that appear symmetrical and contain only fluid are usually simple cysts whereas lumps that are solid or have material floating in them require further investigation. The ultrasound cannot identify whether a solid tumor is benign or malignant. This can only be determined by having a biopsy.
Yes. Ultrasound appointments are often booked several days in advance so it is important to book as soon as possible. Call your closest X-Ray & Imaging to book your appointment.