Thyroid Ultrasound: Uses and Limitations

Thyroid ultrasound or the ultrasound of thyroid generates an image of thyroid gland. The thyroid gland situated in the front region of neck exactly under Adam’s apple. The gland is one among the nine endocrine glands which are present in our body and are responsible for making and sending hormones in the bloodstream. Normally, thyroid ultrasound is utilized for diagnosing the presence of a lump inside the thyroid gland. It also helps in detecting the malfunctioning of thyroid gland.

During the procedure, a transducer is utilized for sending as well as recording of the echoing waves. Once the transducer is pressed on the surface of skin, small pulses of high frequency, inaudible sound waves are directed in the body. While the sound waves bounce back after coming in contact with internal organs, tissues and fluids, the microphone present inside the transducer records the changes that take place in the pitch and direction of sound. The signature waves are measured and displayed using a computer that instantly creates images on the screen.

The technique of thyroid ultrasound suffers from certain limitations. For instance, if a lump is identified inside the thyroid gland, a radiologist may not be able to distinguish between malignant and benign lumps with complete surety. The situation therefore calls for needle biopsy as well as review of tissue through a microscope. Secondly, we cannot determine the functioning of thyroid gland. This implies that the technique fails to measure the level of activity of thyroid gland i.e. the gland is normal, overactive or under active.

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