Thyroid and Parathyroid Ultrasound
How It Feels
The gel may feel cold when it is applied
to your neck. Keeping your neck extended during the test may be uncomfortable,
but you should not feel discomfort from the transducer or sound waves. You will
be able to breathe and swallow normally during the test, and you will not hear
the sound waves.
There is very little chance of a problem from a
thyroid or parathyroid ultrasound test.
A thyroid ultrasound
test does not use radiation, so it is safe to use during pregnancy and will not
harm your growing baby.
A thyroid and parathyroid
ultrasound is an imaging test to check the
thyroid gland and
parathyroid glands. The results of a thyroid or
parathyroid ultrasound test are usually available within 2 to 3 days.
Thyroid and parathyroid ultrasound
The thyroid gland and parathyroid glands are
the right shape and are in the right place.
The glands are not too big or too
No growths or other abnormalities are
The thyroid gland is too big (goiter) or a growth (thyroid nodule) or
cyst is seen in the thyroid gland.
The parathyroid glands are too
What Affects the Test
Reasons you may not be able to
have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:
- Not being able to hold still during the
procedure. Movement can interfere with the quality of the ultrasound
- Having an open wound in the area that needs to be
What To Think About
- A radioactive thyroid scan and radioactive
iodine uptake (RAIU) test are nuclear medicine tests that use a radioactive
substance to see how well the thyroid is working and identify thyroid problems.
For more information, see the topic
- A thyroid ultrasound does
not use a radioactive substance; it is easier to perform and is less expensive
than a radioactive thyroid scan or RAIU test. But a thyroid ultrasound does not
provide information about how well the thyroid gland is working.
- A thyroid ultrasound may be done at the same time as an RAIU
test. RAIU testing is used more often than a thyroid ultrasound to identify
problems such as
hyperthyroidism. A thyroid ultrasound can be used to
identify different types of thyroid problems, especially problems such as
- Thyroid nodules are common, especially in women and older
- Thyroid ultrasound can usually show the difference between
a cyst, a solid nodule, or another type of mass that needs further testing. A
fluid-filled sac that is smooth and round and that does not have any particles
floating in it is likely to be a simple cyst. A lump that does not have any
fluid or that has fluid with floating particles needs to be checked more
closely. If a solid nodule is found, a thyroid
biopsy may be needed.