Problems with your thyroid can trigger a host of symptoms and complications, including fatigue, hair loss, heart palpitations and weight gain. If your symptoms also include a sore throat or trouble swallowing, your doctor may suspect that you have nodules on your thyroid. The best way to diagnose this is the use of an ultrasound. Here are a few things you should know about thyroid ultrasound procedures.
The Basics Of The Thyroid Ultrasound
If you're not familiar with how an ultrasound works, it uses sound waves to generate images that are displayed on an attached screen. Gel is applied to the area where the ultrasound will be conducted. In this case, the base of your throat. Then, the sonographer will use a small wand attached to the ultrasound machine to examine your thyroid. The benefit of an ultrasound is the fact that it is a real-time assessment of your thyroid's condition.
Reasons For A Thyroid Ultrasound
In addition to the combination of thyroid hormone problems and difficulty swallowing, there are other reasons why your doctor may request a thyroid ultrasound. Once you're diagnosed with a thyroid condition, your doctor will monitor how your thyroid feels. If he or she starts to feel a lump on that area or it seems like your thyroid is enlarged, those are two more common reasons for an ultrasound.
The ultrasound is also used frequently to monitor nodule growth in order to determine when it's time to request a biopsy. If the nodules are changing in size or shape, your doctor may decide to have a biopsy done. In the event that such a biopsy is determined necessary, an ultrasound is often used to guide the needle's direction to ensure that the tissue sample is drawn from the proper place.
Why Are Biopsies Important After Thyroid Ultrasounds?
While an ultrasound can clearly show your doctor the presence, shape and size of any nodules that may be present, the ultrasound is limited to that kind of visual assessment. It cannot distinguish between cancerous and benign tumors. To determine whether the nodules on your thyroid are the early stages of thyroid cancer, this type of biopsy is essential. The sooner you diagnose thyroid cancer, the greater your chances of successful treatment.
If your doctor has suggested that you have an ultrasound of your thyroid, don't let the idea make you nervous. As you can see, the procedure is a simple yet important one. For more information, contact EVDI Medical Imaging or a similar company.