Ultrasound of the thyroid gland – method of conducting, prices and cost
Ultrasound of the thyroid gland is a technique for diagnosing, treating and dynamically controlling thyroid diseases by ultrasound imaging of the thyroid gland tissues. Ultrasound scan allows to assess the location, shape, contours, structure, size of the thyroid gland, available intraorganic pathology and its nature (diffuse, focal, number of formations and their characteristics), anomalies, inflammation, mutual correlation of the gland with other structures of the neck, etc. US of the thyroid gland is indicated if any thyroid pathology is suspected, as well as for dynamic control during conservative treatment and dispensary observation, after radiation or surgical intervention.
Clinical endocrinology uses ultrasound of the thyroid gland as a primary screening method of examination because of its non-invasiveness, accessibility and safety. With ultrasound of the thyroid gland, the smallest structural changes in the tissue of the organ are detected – foci of compaction, cysts of 1-2 mm in size, impaired blood supply, pathological changes in the lymph nodes. Under the supervision of ultrasound, as an auxiliary technique, fine needle biopsy of the thyroid gland is performed, which ensures absolute accuracy of getting into the node and taking the material without risk of injury to nearby tissues. If necessary, ultrasound of the thyroid gland is supplemented by the study of thyroid hormones.
Indications for ultrasound of thyroid gland
Carrying out ultrasound of the thyroid gland is appointed by an endocrinologist if any formations in the gland are revealed during examination and palpation. Ultrasound of the thyroid gland is necessary in the presence of the patient’s complaints of a feeling of “lump in the throat” and difficulty swallowing, an unreasonable cough, increased nervousness and excitability, sleep disturbance, palpitations and tremors of hands, swelling, weight loss, prolonged subfebrile condition. Ultrasound of the thyroid gland is justified with a change in the normal level of thyroid hormones in the blood serum.
Prophylactic ultrasound of the thyroid gland is indicated to persons associated with occupational hazards living in iodine deficient regions, with a dysfunctional heredity, long-receiving hormones, to people after 40 years of age. Ultrasound of the thyroid gland is recommended for women planning pregnancy, for the exclusion of thyroid diseases (eg, hypothyroidism), negatively affecting the bearing and development of the fetus. By means of ultrasound of the thyroid gland, it is possible to monitor the effectiveness of treatment and timely detection of the threat of recurrence of an already treated disease. Patients subject to clinical follow-up of the endocrinologist are shown to repeat the ultrasound of the thyroid gland 1-2 times a year.
Thyroid ultrasound: Method of conducting
During the ultrasound of the thyroid gland, the patient lies on the couch with his head slightly reclining. A clear gel is applied to the completely exposed area of the neck, scanning is performed by an ultrasonic sensor with minimal pressure on the skin. During the ultrasound of the thyroid gland, the specialist determines the location, shape and shape of the organ, measures the thyroid volume, the size of the isthmus and the lobes of the gland, evaluates the echogenicity (density) and echostructure (uniformity) of the thyroid tissue, its blood supply, and the presence and extent of abnormalities.
If the pathology of the thyroid gland is detected, it is possible to determine its nature (focal, diffuse), the number, nature and size of the formations, the presence or absence of blood flow in them, and the germination in surrounding tissues. When combined ultrasound of the thyroid gland with dopplerography, the cost of the study is increased. If there is a suspicion of the presence of tumors during thyroid ultrasound, the condition of the cervical lymph nodes is also studied. All data are recorded in the study protocol and, together with the attached images, are given out on hand. The price for ultrasound of the thyroid gland depends on the level of equipment used and the doctor’s qualification. The procedure does not cause painful sensations, can be performed many times even during pregnancy.
Thyroid ultrasound results explained
In a healthy person, ultrasound of the thyroid gland determines the usual topography and shape of the gland with clear and even contours. The upper border of the lateral lobes of the gland is located at the level of the middle of the thyroid cartilage, the lower one is at the level of 5-6 of the tracheal ring, the position of the isthmus corresponds to the level of I-III (II-IV) of the cartilages of the trachea. Thyroid volume in the norm in women does not exceed 18 ml (cm3), in men – 25 ml (cm3). The weight of the gland is normally 20-60 g, the sizes of the lobes are within 5-8×2-4×1-3 cm, the thickness of the isthmus is 4-5 mm.
Parameters of the thyroid gland according to ultrasound are individual and variable. In pubertal period there is an increase in the mass of the thyroid gland, and in the elderly there is a decrease. During pregnancy, a temporary physiological hypertrophy of the thyroid gland is found. Normally, ultrasound of the thyroid gland reveals a uniform structure of glandular tissue of normal echogenicity, absence of foci of compaction (nodes), cysts and enlargement of lymph nodes.
In thyroid pathology, the ultrasound of the thyroid gland determines the decrease or increase in size, volume of lobes and isthmus, heterogeneity of the glandular structure, patches of glandular tissue of various echogenicity. The increase in volume in women is more than 19 ml, for men – more than 25 ml. Changes in the structure of the thyroid gland may be diffuse (non-nutritional) or focal (nodal) in nature. With diffuse toxic goiter, the thyroid ultrasound demonstrates a normal echostructure of thyroid tissue, a uniform increase in the volume of the gland of various degrees.
At an acute thyroiditis on US of a thyroid gland the small body increase in volume is traced, abscesses are possible or probable. With Hashimoto’s disease, thyroid ultrasonography shows heterogeneity and decreased echogenicity of thyroid tissue, a decrease in the size of the gland, and diffuse fibrosis is possible. Ultrasound of the thyroid gland helps to detect multiple or single nodes – nodal goiter or tumors (adenoma, thyroid cancer). The nodes are visualized as centers of increased density, usually delimited from normal thyroid tissue.
Signs of nodular goiter by ultrasound of the thyroid gland are multiple (rarely single) nodes of medium echogenicity, regular shape, with distinct contours and capsule, often having echo-negative areas (congestion of colloid or hemorrhage), less often hyperechoic inclusions with acoustic shade – calcints. The cyst is defined as an anechogenic formation with rounded outlines, clear boundaries and contents of a homogeneous character. Malignant formations on ultrasound of the thyroid gland are visualized as solid formations with fuzzy contours and increased density, often having microcalcifications and accompanied by an increase in regional lymph nodes.
From the results of ultrasound of the thyroid gland depends the need for a follow-up examination: screening of thyroid hormones, scintigraphy, CT or MRI. With nodal formations larger than 1 cm, a fine needle aspiration biopsy is performed, and in the detection of a malignant process, operations on the thyroid gland.
Thyroid ultrasound cost – prices in the USA
The procedure falls into the category of widespread, performed in many private and public medical institutions of the capital and the region. The main factors influencing the price of ultrasound of the thyroid gland in Moscow are the form of property of the medical diagnostic organization and the need to conduct dopplerography in the process of research. In private centers, the cost of the technique is usually higher than in state polyclinics. With the combination of ultrasound and dopplerography, the procedure price also increases. In addition, the pricing may be influenced by the qualification of the doctor, who manipulates and decrypts the results.