Ultrasound of thyroid. What a doctor can see, how to prepare yourself for the procedure, reference values

Ultrasound of thyroid. What a doctor can see, how to prepare yourself for the procedure, reference values

Thyroid is a very important organ on which normal functioning of brain, heart, reproductive system, development of bone tissues and muscles depends. That is why any thyroid functioning disorder results in severe pathologies. Thyroid ultrasound helps to reveal problems timely and to provide competent and efficient medical support to a patient.

As the organ is located not deeply, modern ultrasound examination devices give a doctor a possibility to view the whole thyroid, excluding the parts located behind the breast bone or the trachea. The following organ parameters are assessed during the examination:

  • Location. Thyroid ultrasound allows to differentiate the aberrant (abnormal) or typical position of the organ. In some cases it is possible to reveal misplaced regions located near the main body of thyroid.
  • Structure. Normally, the thyroid consists of 2 lobes and an isthmus connecting them. Not infrequently, an additional pyramidal lobe, tissue overgrowth can be present, and it is also considered normal.
  • Boundaries. If the ultrasound thyroid examination does not provide clear boundaries of the organ, it will indicate progressing of a tumor or an inflammatory process. Absolutely clear boundaries on the monitor are considered normal.
  • Dimensions. A doctor assesses the thickness of the isthmus in anteroposterior direction and 3 linear mutually perpendicular dimensions of each lobe to get the information on the volume of the organ being examined.

Various thyroid pathologies are diagnosed for 20 % of the population, in some regions the amount is 50 %. Lack of iodine, poor environmental conditions, stresses, injuries, intoxications and concurrent diseases influence on the functioning and pathological changes of the organ structure. It is advisable to perform this type of examination once a year, as it gives the possibility to diagnose problems at early stages of their development.

This type of examination is considered simple for a patient, as no preparation for the thyroid ultrasound is required, but a patient can take a towel with him/her and put in under the head for convenience.


The procedure is performed when the patient is lying on the back, and his/her head should be thrown back. A special transparent gel for complete passage of the ultrasound is applied on the anterior part of the neck. Then a doctor performs the examination using a sensor. A patient does not feel any discomfort during the thyroid ultrasound, only a slight discomfort due to the uncomfortable neck position is possible.

Doctors distinguish certain types of symptoms that presume mandatory preventive examinations with thyroid ultrasound once a year. The examinations include:

Women that are planning pregnancy, people with diagnosed pancreatic diabetes and people whose work activities are connected with a hazardous industry have to undergo a thyroid ultrasound procedure.

Article author: Leonid Siruk

Publication date: 22.12.2020

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