Do I Need A Thyroid Ultrasound?

Jun 20, 2021
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  • What is the Thyroid Gland?

The thyroid gland is a small butterfly-shaped gland that is part of the endocrine system that affects the metabolism, growth, and metabolism of the body. 


  • What does the Thyroid gland do?

The thyroid gland lives just in front of the trachea and is responsible for producing hormones to make many cells in your body function correctly. We are most used to thinking of the thyroid gland as it relates to our energy level, but its function can affect many other systems. Normal thyroid gland function is particularly important for women as its function or dysfunction (incorrect function) may cause problems with fertility and pregnancy, ability to sleep, muscle and digestive function, inability to maintain a healthy heart rate, and facilitate normal brain development, and bone health. 


  • What hormones does the Thyroid produce? 

The function of the thyroid can be measured by measuring the Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) or by more completely measuring the specific hormones secreted. Two hormones secreted by the gland are thyroxine T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), as well as calcitonin (involved in calcium and bone metabolism). Iodine is a necessary building block for the thyroid and insufficient iodine in the diet can produce enlargement known as goiter.


  • Why do some people suffer from an underactive thyroid gland? 

This condition is known as hypothyroidism where the gland doesn’t make enough hormones. Many of these patients with hypothyroidism tell me “I just can’t lose weight even though I’m hardly eating anything” or “I feel cold all the time”, or “my hair is falling out and my skin feels dry all the time”. Unfortunately, making the diagnosis of hypothyroidism is not as easy as just performing bloodwork as the body does everything it can to keep the hormones at a certain normal range in the bloodstream so our laboratory values don’t tell the whole story. Additionally, many changes in the thyroid function occur at times in our lives when other hormones are also changing such as during pregnancy or menopause. Both women and men experience hormonal changes at about age 50. In women, we refer to this time as per-menopause. In men, I refer to this time as “mano-pause”. Many other hormonal sex hormone changes also occur at this time so the complaints of fatigue or low libido from thyroid dysfunction may be masked by “menopausal” or “manopausal” changes. 


  • What are the signs of an overactive thyroid gland? 

Some people may suffer from an overly active thyroid which produces too much hormone and overly affects the downstream organs. Hyperthyroidism may present with cardiac palpitations, hair loss, memory loss or mood disturbances, unexplained weight loss, difficulty regulating one’s body temperature, and changes in vision or muscles of your eyes. 


  • Why does the thyroid gland grow in size?

This thyroid enlargement may be because it is diffusely enlarged such as goiter from iodine deficiency in some countries of poor nutrition, or because of nodule development which does need to be further with thyroid ultrasound imaging, or secondary to autoimmune processes such as Graves disease or Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. If the gland is actively inflamed accompanied by an abrupt change in function, swelling, or redness of the neck and blood tests show sudden overproduction, this condition is referred to as toxic thyroiditis. This may be dangerous especially if important functions such as heart rate or temperature are involved.  Sometimes a single nodule enlarges and not the whole gland. 


  • Is a single thyroid nodule dangerous? 

If a solitary thyroid nodule (just one nodule, not the whole gland) is detected on your or your clinician’s clinical exam, you will likely be asked to perform a thyroid ultrasound. At The Women’s Imaging Center, our physicians specialize in the performance, detection, and diagnosis of thyroid nodules. We perform all comprehensive imaging for women from head to toe and have years of specialized training in all organ systems of the female body. Thyroid Ultrasound Procedure Although most nodules have characteristics that appear benign (noncancerous), some have suspicious characteristics such as irregular shape with calcifications that require a thyroid needle biopsy. During a thyroid biopsy, we use ultrasound to safely guide us to the exact location of the nodule, avoiding other structures of the neck such as the trachea or vessels. We perform all interventional procedures, including thyroid biopsy, in an out-patient office setting for your comfort, convenience, and cost-efficiency. The Women’s Imaging Center is the imaging facility in Denver for performing thyroid biopsies. We work with head and neck specialists when thyroid cancer is detected. Thankfully, most thyroid cancer is “papillary thyroid cancer” of low aggressiveness, and most patients do well with this diagnosis after treatment.   


  • Where to get a Thyroid Biopsy done? 

The Women’s Imaging Center offers the highest-quality mammogram services and comprehensive medical diagnostic imaging services for women. We offer Thyroid ultrasound and thyroid biopsy at our locations in Denver, Lakewood, Highlands Ranch, and at our new Centennial location.

The Women’s Imaging Center offers the following imaging services at all of our imaging centers:

  • 3D mammograms – Screening mammograms & Diagnostic mammograms
  • Breast ultrasound
  • Breast biopsy

at all of our locations in Denver-Cherry Creek, West-Lakewood, North-Westminster, and South-Highlands Ranch. We offer also offer:

And other Medical Diagnostic Imaging services at our Denver/Cherry Creek location.

The Women’s Imaging Center locations allow easy access from all of greater Denver and many nearby communities including

At our North Location:

At our South Location:

At our West Location:

At our new Southeast/Centennial Location:

The Women’s Imaging Center is committed to providing individualized, innovative, state-of-the-art healthcare to women and men. Call 303-321-CARE (2273) to schedule an appointment or make an online appointment request for a Thyroid Ultrasound or Thyroid Biopsy at Schedule Now



Kelly McAleese
by Kelly McAleese