Thyroid Ultrasound Scan

Thyroid Ultrasound Scan: Understanding the Procedure, Benefits, and Risks

If your doctor has recommended that you get a thyroid ultrasound scan, you may be wondering what to expect. A thyroid ultrasound is a non-invasive diagnostic procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of the thyroid gland, located in the neck. This type of scan is often used to help diagnose and monitor conditions affecting the thyroid, such as thyroid nodules, goiters, and thyroid cancer.

In this article, we will explore the procedure of thyroid ultrasound scanning, its benefits, and potential risks.

Procedure of Thyroid Ultrasound Scanning

A thyroid ultrasound is typically performed by a radiology technologist or a sonographer, who is a trained professional in ultrasound imaging. Here’s what you can expect during the procedure:

  1. Preparation: There is no specific preparation needed for a thyroid ultrasound. However, it is recommended that you wear loose and comfortable clothing, and avoid wearing jewelry around your neck.

  2. Positioning: You will be asked to lie down on your back with your neck slightly extended. A pillow may be provided to support your head and neck during the procedure.

  3. Gel application: A clear, water-based gel will be applied to your neck area. This gel helps to conduct the sound waves and allows for clearer imaging.

  4. Scanning: The technologist or sonographer will place a handheld device, called a transducer, on your neck. The transducer emits high-frequency sound waves that bounce off the thyroid gland and create images on a computer screen. The technologist or sonographer may apply slight pressure to obtain better images.

  5. Completion: Once the imaging is complete, the technologist or sonographer will wipe off the gel from your neck area.

Benefits of Thyroid Ultrasound Scanning

There are several benefits of undergoing a thyroid ultrasound scan, including:

  1. Non-invasive: A thyroid ultrasound is a non-invasive procedure, meaning that it does not require any incisions or injections.

  2. Pain-free: The procedure is generally painless and does not cause any discomfort.

  3. Accurate diagnosis: A thyroid ultrasound scan is highly accurate in detecting and monitoring thyroid nodules, goiters, and thyroid cancer.

  4. Safe for pregnant women: Thyroid ultrasound scanning is considered safe for pregnant women, as it does not involve exposure to ionizing radiation.

Risks of Thyroid Ultrasound Scanning

While there are no significant risks associated with thyroid ultrasound scanning, there are a few minor risks to consider:

  1. Allergic reactions: Some people may experience an allergic reaction to the gel used during the procedure.

  2. Discomfort: Although the procedure is generally pain-free, some people may experience slight discomfort from the pressure applied by the transducer.

  3. False positives: In some cases, a thyroid ultrasound may detect nodules that are not cancerous, leading to unnecessary follow-up testing or treatment.


A thyroid ultrasound scan is a safe and non-invasive diagnostic procedure that provides valuable information about the thyroid gland. It is highly accurate in detecting and monitoring thyroid nodules, goiters, and thyroid cancer. If your doctor has recommended a thyroid ultrasound, it is important to follow through with the procedure to ensure accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about the procedure, be sure to discuss them with your healthcare provider.