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Alternative namesUltrasound - thyroid; Thyroid sonogram; Thyroid echogram
DefinitionThe thyroid is a gland located in the neck that regulates metabolism . Ultrasound is a painless method of examining the thyroid. This test involves high-frequency sound waves that are emitted and received by a transducer (a handheld instrument), and the sound waves penetrate the body. The sound waves are arranged into an image seen on a screen, based on the way they bounce off of the various body structures.
How the test is performedThe test is usually done in the ultrasound or radiology department. You will be lying down with your neck hyperextended (extending the neck beyond its usual limit). Lubricant gel is placed on your neck, and the transducer is passed over the area.
How to prepare for the test
Infants and children:
How the test will feelYou should feel very little discomfort with this test. The conducting gel may be cold and your neck may feel stretched.
Why the test is performedUltrasound is usually performed on the thyroid to differentiate between a cyst (a sac containing fluid) and a tumor (an abnormal tissue growth that may or may not be cancerous).
Normal ValuesThe thyroid is of normal size, shape, and position.
What abnormal results mean
Abnormal results may include cysts , tumors, goiter (an enlargement of the thyroid gland), and thyroid nodules .Your doctor can use these results and the results of other tests to direct your care.
Additional conditions under which the test may be performed include the following:
What the risks areThere are no documented risks of ultrasound .
Update Date: 1/14/2003Benjamin Taragin, M.D., Department of Radiology, Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, New York, NY. Review Provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT