The Diagnostic Accuracy of Thyroid Ultrasound Images

Sep 7. 2022

From its introduction to medicine in 1942 by neurologist Karl Dussik, ultrasound scans have been relied upon for their versatility in monitoring, diagnostics and treatment of many conditions, including the thyroid. Employing unique and complication free techniques, an ultrasound is efficient in detecting a wide range of defects and disorders in body tissue and organs. So, what specifically is an ultrasound, how does it work, and what makes it such an effective tool?

 What is Ultrasound Imaging?

An ultrasound is a medical test that captures real-time video of internal organs in the body, using high-frequency sound waves. Known as the ‘jack of all trades’ of medical imaging, ultrasounds have the advantage of being non-invasive, painless, inexpensive and requiring no radiation, while providing clear images that can be relied upon for diagnostic purposes. Ultrasound technology is effective and often used in detecting thyroiditis, fetal heartbeat, tumors, blood clots, ectopic pregnancy, bladder/kidney/gall stones, varicocele, and more.

 What are Thyroid Disorders?

The thyroid is a vital, butterfly shaped gland, wrapped around the windpipe and located in the neck. The thyroid gland secretes hormones responsible for regulating the body’s metabolic rates which controls digestion, brain, bone and muscle development, and by extension, the rate of body cell operations. So much depends on the thyroid functioning properly at all times, that when it is not, many unpleasant symptoms are present, affecting a person’s ability to perform at their peak.

Diagnosing Thyroid Disorders Using Ultrasound Imaging

At GluCare, we use ultrasound technology during a patient’s initial visit at the clinic to quickly diagnose thyroid disorders. Conducted by the physician personally, the scan is performed by manipulating a surface probe, which acts as both a transmitter and receiver of sound waves, over the thyroid. The probe beams ultrasound waves through the thyroid gland; these are reflected off the surface of the underlying tissue or organ, collected by the probe, and transferred to a computer for thorough analysis. The results of the reflected ultrasonic data is used to generate real-time images of the thyroid gland which is evaluated for increased size, shape distortion or growths.  The ability of a thyroid ultrasound scan to detect even the most miniature anomaly – usually invisible to x-rays, and the image clarity achieved, is a positive appraisal of its sensitivity.

 Diagnostic Accuracy of Ultrasound Scans

Thyroid ultrasound scans are implemented successfully in monitoring and diagnosing thyroid cysts, nodules, goiters and tumors. Valuable diagnostic information obtained from such examinations include; 

  • Number of nodules or lumps present 
  • Location of nodules or tumor
  • Growth boundaries of a nodule
  • Nature or content of nodule or tumor
  • Micro-calcifications present in a nodule

Whilst the accuracy of thyroid ultrasounds have gotten better, they are still dependent on the endocrinologist and radiologist skill set and experience. In fact, 70% of traditional thyroid ultrasounds produce uncertain images which lead to unnecessary biopsies being performed. 

GluCare.Health is different. Not only will we perform your scan in the clinic on your initial visit, we are among the first facilities in the world to use artificial intelligence (AI) to evaluate the sonographic calcifications of thyroid nodules. This approach is more sensitive and objective than simply relying on conventional methods (physicians alone) in the diagnosis of thyroid abnormalities.  Your physician, aided by our state of the art, artificial intelligence enhanced equipment, can read your scan immediately to determine next steps. 

At GluCare.Health our physician led care team of dietitians, educators and coaches provide hyper individualized care using our continuous remote data monitoring system. By using connected wearable devices, we are able to closely monitor the effectiveness of the prescribed treatment and make changes frequently, often without repeat trips to the clinic. We offer timely support in all aspects of care, both in the clinic and after leaving.

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