About the Scan - Thyroid Ultrasound

SMIL radiologists perform a thyroid ultrasound exam to help diagnose a lump in the thyroid or a thyroid that is not functioning properly. The thyroid gland is located in front of the neck just below the Adam’s apple and is shaped like a butterfly, with two lobes on either side of the neck. The thyroid is one of nine endocrine glands located throughout the body.

Typical uses of a thyroid ultrasound exam:

  • To determine if a lump in the neck is arising from the thyroid or an adjacent structure.
  • To analyze the appearance of thyroid nodules and determine if they are the more common benign nodule or if the nodule has features that require a biopsy.
  • To see if a thyroid nodule has substantially grown over time.

Because ultrasound provides real-time images (images that are renewed continuously), it can also be used as a guide through procedures such as needle biopsies, in which needles are used to extract sample cells from an abnormal area for laboratory testing.

Learn more about how to prepare for a thyroid ultrasound in the preparations for thyroid ultrasound section.

Find out if a thyroid ultrasound is right for you in the benefits and risks of thyroid ultrasound section.

For a downloadable/printable PDF about this exam with preparation instructions click here.

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