Ultrasound has been around for a long time – it’s not really new, so why is it so useful as an imaging tool?

1) It is quick!

2) It is painless!

3) There is no radiation associated with its use!

4) It can be used multiple times and over multiple visits. This is very useful if your doctor is trying to follow the size of a neck mass, or check the growth every few months.

5) Its the best tool for looking at the salivary and thyroid glands. Sure you could get an MRI (1 hour scan) or a CT scan (radiation), but these tools don’t show the problems associated with most salivary glands or the thyroid gland as well as ultrasound can. If you have a problem with these glands, you’re better off being evaluated with ultrasound.

6) It can be used to help guide the surgeon to the best spot for the biopsy, and to avoid special structures when performing the biopsy.


So… why don’t most doctors use ultrasound more often?

Ultrasound takes a lot of specialty time and training. If you’re not seeing a high volume of neck, thyroid, or salivary gland problems, then it is difficult to keep up the practice and use the tool as effectively as possible.