The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland that lies in the lower front part of your neck. There is a right side and a left side of the thyroid, on either side of the windpipe. The isthmus lies directly over the windpipe or trachea and this band of tissue connects the right to the left gland.. Each person varies as to how big or small the glands are and there are differences as to where the thyroid can be located.
The thyroid has many functions in keeping the body working properly. Metabolism control is one of the primary functions of the thyroid. In addition, the thyroid hormones help regulate body temperature, help with energy as well as assist other organs in performing their essential functions. Thyroid hormones secreted by the gland act like messengers to tell specific body parts what to do.
The parathyroid glands control blood calcium and bone calcium in the body. Even though these glands are very small, they play a vital role in the healthy maintenance of our body.
If your physician orders a thyroid or parathyroid ultrasound, he/she may be interested in seeing whether you have a goiter. A goiter is abnormal enlargement of the gland. A person may have small masses that form within the thyroid or parathyroid that can also cause dysfunction of these glands. If a patient has abnormal lab results, this might indicate possible thyroid or parathyroid dysfunction or disease. Ultrasounds are performed for many different indications.
This type of Diagnostic ultrasound requires a physician or provider order prior to performing exam.
There is no specific prep necessary to have a thyroid or parathyroid ultrasound performed. It would be prudent, however, to wear a shirt with a loose fitting collar or a collarless shirt to allow for access to your throat in imaging.
The Sonographer will ask you to remove your shirt if the clothing you are wearing inhibits good access of your neck or throat. If this occurs, you will be offered a patient gown.
An Ultrasound of the thyroid or parathyroid is a simple test. You will be asked to lie down on your back on an exam table with your face up. The Sonographer will then drape your neck with a towel to protect any clothing you might be wearing.
Ultrasound gel will be placed on your neck just over your windpipe and to both right/left sides of your neck. The hand held ultrasound probe will then gently maneuver on both the front your neck as well as each side of your neck, moving up and down taking images. Because an ultrasound of the thyroid/parathyroid requires visualization of the whole gland, you will be asked to refrain from talking or chewing during the test.
All of the images from your ultrasound will then be sent to a Radiologist (interpreting physician) for a report to be generated for your referring physician. You will receive the results of your Ultrasound from your referring physician or the provider who ordered this ultrasound to be performed. Please refer back to the physician's office who sent you to obtain results of your ultrasound exams.