If your doctor feels a nodule on your thyroid during an exam, they might order an ultrasound scan. Ultrasound scans are safe since they don't use x-rays. Instead, they use sound waves to create videos and pictures of your thyroid.
Here's more information on how ultrasound scans work and what information your doctor might get from a thyroid scan.
How An Ultrasound Scan Is Done
The equipment used consists of the machine that delivers sound waves, the transducer that sends the waves through your skin, software that analyzes the sound waves, and a monitor where the video created by the software is displayed. The test is done by applying gel to the skin of your neck over your thyroid and then gliding the transducer over your skin.
The transducer sends sound waves to your thyroid, and when the waves bounce back, the software analyzes them and creates a video and still images for your doctor to study. There is no pain or discomfort associated with your scan. When the scan is over, you'll be able to go right back to your usual activities.
Why An Ultrasound Scan Of Your Thyroid Is Done
Your doctor may order a scan of your thyroid to look for a tumor, goiter, or nodules. If they find a suspicious growth, they might need to do another ultrasound to guide the needle used to do a biopsy. In addition, if you receive treatment for a thyroid condition, they may do a follow-up scan at a later time to see if the treatment is working and if the growth has shrunk.
A thyroid scan allows the doctor to see how blood flows around the thyroid and to see if a growth is on the thyroid or nearby tissue. The scan can help the doctor diagnose a thyroid condition and monitor treatment.
What Happens After The Scan
The scan is given by an ultrasound technician and the video and images have to be read by a radiologist, so you probably won't get the results right away. After the radiologist reads the scans, they'll send the results to your doctor and your doctor will notify you about the results.
You may be able to see the video on the monitor as the scan is being done, but you probably won't understand what you're seeing since the scans are hard to interpret unless you've had training.
There are no aftereffects to worry about with an ultrasound. You can drive right away and go back to work. Ultrasound scans are easy procedures to go through, and there is nothing to fear about taking them.
For more information on ultrasounds, contact a company like Hudson Valley Imaging.