A thyroid ultrasound is an imaging method to see the thyroid, a gland in the neck that regulates metabolism (the many processes that control the rate of activity in cells and tissues).

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How the Test is Performed:

Ultrasound is a painless method that uses sound waves to create images of the inside of the body. The test is often done in the ultrasound or radiology department. It also can be done in a clinic.

The test is done in this way:

➖ You lie down with your neck on a pillow or other soft support. Your neck may be stretched slightly.

➖ The sonographer applies a warm water-based gel on your neck to help transmit the sound waves.

➖ Next, the sonographer moves a wand, called a transducer, back and forth on the skin of your neck. The transducer gives off sound waves. The sound waves go through your body and bounce off the area being studied (in this case, the thyroid gland). A computer looks at the pattern that the sound waves create when bouncing back, and creates an image from them.

How the Test will Feel:

You should feel very little discomfort with this test. The gel may be cool a bit over the course of the examination.

How to Prepare for the Test:

No special preparation is necessary for this test.

Why the Test is Performed:

A thyroid ultrasound is usually done when physical exam shows irregularities, or you are presenting symptoms of thyroid disease.

Below are the reasons to consider a thyroid screening:

  • Preventative screening done to make sure the gland looks healthy.

  • You are presenting with symptoms of thyroid disease. A thyroid screening is used to rule out a thyroid concern, so other root causes of the symptoms can be considered.
  • You have a growth on your thyroid gland, called a thyroid nodule.
  • The thyroid feels big or irregular, called a goiter.

  • You have abnormal lymph nodes near your thyroid.


There are no documented risks for a thyroid ultrasound.

Normal Results:

A normal result will show that the thyroid has a normal size, shape, and position.

What Abnormal Results Mean:

Abnormal results may be due to:

  • Cysts (nodules filled with fluid)

  • Enlargement of the thyroid gland (goiter)
  • Thyroid nodules.
  • Thyroiditis, or inflammation of the thyroid (confirmed with biopsy)
  • Thyroid cancer (confirmed with biopsy) 
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Your health care provider can use these results and the results of other tests to direct your care. Thyroid ultrasounds are becoming better and predicting whether a thyroid nodule is benign or is a cancer.

Many thyroid ultrasound reports will now give each nodule a score and discuss the characteristics of the nodule that caused the score. Talk to your provider about the results of any thyroid ultrasound.

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If you are interested in scheduling a thyroid screening, please click on the button below.

We are able to schedule a separate thyroid screening ($225), or you can add a thyroid screening to your breast screening appointment ($550) which saves you $50!