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, noncircumscribed margin, microcalcifications and have a taller than-wide shape. Nodules with one or more of these characteristics should be considered for ultrasound guided 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.