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Women's Health

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Thyroid and Parathyroid Ultrasound

How It Is Done continued...

You may be asked to undress above the waist and drape a paper or cloth covering around your shoulders. Remove all jewelry from your head or around your neck.

You will lie on your back on a high table with your neck stretched out and a pillow under your shoulders. Gel will be spread on your neck to improve the passage of the sound waves (they do not pass easily through air). Sometimes a small water-filled bag or gelatin sponge is placed over your throat to help conduct the sound waves. The transducer will be pressed against your neck (or against the water-filled bag or gelatin sponge, if used), then moved back and forth over your neck. A picture of your thyroid gland and the tissue around it can be seen on a video monitor. You may be asked to turn your head away from the side being scanned so the jawbone is out of the way.

The test takes about 30 minutes. You may be asked to wait until the radiologist has reviewed the information. The radiologist may want to do additional ultrasound views of your neck.

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 camera.gif. 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 small.

No growths or other abnormalities are seen.


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 big.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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