ULTRASOUND TECHNOLOGY – Thyroid ultrasound and guided biopsy: How it works, how it helps.
– Paul F. Pizzella, M.D.
Thyroid ultrasound is a widely used technique that helps to evaluate thyroid nodules and guide in the biopsy of suspicious nodules. The lack of radiation, superficial gland position and improved technology has made thyroid ultrasound a common risk-free procedure. The increased use of thyroid sonography has aided in the discovery of many nodules.
Thyroid nodules come in all sizes and shapes with the vast majority benign. The challenge that exists is the identification of the potentially malignant nodules. Adding to the confusion are the multiple and at times contradictory guidelines.
Recent literature has shown that there are four suspicious gray scale characteristics that are directly correlated with malignancy. These are solid nodules with marked hypoechogenicity, non-circumscribed margin, microcalcifications and have a tallerthan- wide shape. Nodules with one or more of these characteristics should be considered for ultrasoundguided biopsy.
Doppler ultrasound can add to nodule description but, vascularity itself or in combination with gray scale
features is not as useful as the suspicious gray scale features alone for predicting malignancy.
The use of ultrasound-guided biopsy is a safe and simple way to adequately sample suspicious nodules with little to no patient
discomfort. The added benefit of a second look before sampling ensures proper nodule selection and biopsy.
Our registered ultrasound technologists are well trained and competent in performing thyroid ultrasound. Our American College of Radiology (ACR) certified equipment includes high frequency and small parts transducers that ensures the highest quality exam. Southtowns Radiology’s board certified physicians are experienced with interpreting thyroid ultrasound and in the performance of ultrasound-guided biopsy.
Fasting isn’t fun, but there’s a reason for it.
Why do patients have to fast for abdominal sonograms? Patients scheduled for abdominal sonograms are instructed to have nothing to eat or drink for eight hours prior to their exam and are offered early morning appointments. Necessary medications may be taken with a sip of water. Fasting ensures the gallbladder will be distended and also minimizes intestinal gas, which interferes with imaging
abdominal organs. After eating, the gallbladder contracts, making it difficult to visualize small stones and wall thickening may be
indistinguishable from cholecystitis. So, for best results, patients should fast before abdominal sonograms. Emergencies do occur and we can attempt the scan if the patient has eaten, but if results are equivocal the scan may have to be repeated.