ZocdocAnswersWhat is a thyroid ultrasound?

Question

What is a thyroid ultrasound?

I have been having strange things happen to my metabolism, so my doctor is now saying I should get an ultrasound of my thyroid. What is a thyroid ultrasound? Is it painful? Does it involve going inside the big machine because I am extremely claustrophobic.

Answer

Imaging of the thyroid using ultrasound is a safe, comfortable method to look for thyroid nodules or growths. There are no big machines to go into or small places to fit into. It is especially useful to characterize a mass felt on the thyroid gland, or to look for smaller, less detectible thyroid growths. It is not all that useful as a first test for thyroid or metabolic dysfunction. Therefore I imagine that your doctor has already done some blood tests and determined that there is something off about your thyroid gland function. Thyroid hormone is responsible for regulating are metabolism. The more thyroid we have, the greater our metabolic rate. The first test to do for this is a blood test looking for the hormone TSH. This hormone is high when our thyroid function is down, and low when our thyroid function is too high. Thyroid nodules sometimes create too much thyroid hormone or don't create any. It sounds like your doctor may be looking for nodules that are creating too much thyroid. I suggest that when you see your doctor for the ultrasound, that you get some more information about what is going on with your thyroid gland. It is best if you understand the purpose of each study you are going through, and what possible findings could come from the study. Good luck.

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