What is an ultrasound?
This versatile imaging technology uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of organs and tissues within the body. By capturing images in real time, ultrasound exams reveal the structure and movement of the body's internal organs, such as the heart, blood vessels, kidneys and liver.
Ultrasound can also be used to precisely locate the position of a tumor in order to guide a biopsy or aspiration procedure. For example, ultrasound may be used to mark out the boundaries of a tumor prior to its removal. It can also be used to administer cancer treatments.
Depending on the body part being examined, some types of ultrasound include: abdominal, breast, cardiac, pelvic, prostate, renal, testicular and thyroid. Unlike X-rays, ultrasound exams do not use radiation.
Ultrasound for thyroid cancer
Also known as sonography, this non-invasive procedure can help doctors determine the size of nodules on the thyroid and see how many are present. It can also help to see if the suspected nodule is solid, or filled with fluid. Sometimes, ultrasound is also used to guide the biopsy needle when nodules are small.