What is a Thyroid Ultrasound?
A thyroid ultrasound is an imaging test used to examine the thyroid gland located in the neck. It is used to detect any abnormalities or changes in the size and shape of the thyroid gland. During the procedure, sound waves are sent through the neck and directed at the thyroid region to create a two-dimensional image of the area. The images are then analyzed by a physician to assess the health of the thyroid.
Reasons for a Thyroid Ultrasound
A thyroid ultrasound may be recommended for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common reasons for a thyroid ultrasound include:
- To evaluate a nodule or lump found in the thyroid region
- To detect swelling or inflammation of the thyroid
- To assess the structure or size of the thyroid gland
Preparing for a Thyroid Ultrasound
It is important for the patient to take the proper steps in preparing for a thyroid ultrasound exam. For best results, the patient should:
- Avoid eating or drinking for four hours prior to the exam
- Remove any clothing and jewelry that could interfere with the ultrasound
- Be prepared to answer questions about any medications they are taking and allergies they may have
The Thyroid Ultrasound Procedure
Before the ultrasound procedure begins, the patient will be asked to change into a gown and lie on the examination table. The ultrasound transducer is then placed on the neck and emits sound waves which record images of the thyroid gland. The procedure itself takes around 30 minutes and can be performed at a hospital, imaging center, or doctor’s office.
Understanding the Results of a Thyroid Ultrasound
Once the ultrasound images have been collected, the results are analyzed by a physician to assess the health of the thyroid gland. The results of the ultrasound exam may indicate a normal or abnormal functioning of the thyroid. If any abnormalities are discovered, additional testing or treatments may be necessary.
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