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Thyroid Nodules (cont.)

Ultrasound of the thyroid

This test uses sound waves to take a picture of the thyroid. Similar to the prenatal ultrasound of the fetus, a cold lubricant jelly is placed on the neck. Then, using an external probe, ultrasound images of the thyroid gland are obtained.

An ultrasound can reveal which thyroid nodules are larger than 1.0 to 1.5 centimeters, requiring further evaluation for cancer.

In addition to size, other nodule characteristics that can be noted on a thyroid ultrasound include the following:

  • Number of nodules
  • Location of nodules
  • Distinctness of borders
  • Fluid versus solid contents
  • Other nodule contents (such as calcium deposits) or
  • The amount of blood flow; certain newer ultrasound machines can assess blood flow to the thyroid and its nodules
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/18/2015

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Nodular disease of the thyroid gland is prevalent in the United States.

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