Ultrasound has been used in therapy now for years. The benefits of ultrasounds, as opposed to other forms diagnosing and treatment, include:
- No needles or injections (non-invasive)
- May occasionally be uncomfortable, but never painful
- Widely-available, easy, and less expensive than other imaging technologies
- Completely safe, without any radiation
- Provides a clear, immediate picture of muscle tissue
Overall, there are no known harmful risks associated with standard diagnostic ultrasound, and these benefits are now being used to treat patients who suffer from thyroid cancer.
According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 35,000 U.S. citizens are diagnosed with some form of thyroid cancer every year, most of whom are women (74%). Thyroid cancer is the seventh most commonly diagnosed female malignancy, and to combat such a large threat, Accent endocrinologists are using ultrasound technology before and after surgery to provide better treatment.
Pre-operative Neck Ultrasounds
Ultrasounds in the neck that are done prior to thyroid surgery are utilized to evaluate surrounding tissue for any abnormal lymph nodes. Abnormal nodes are indicators that the cancer has spread, and our physicians use pre-op ultrasounds to determine the infected area before an operation, so that they can more successfully treat patients.
A recent study published in the Archives of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery concluded that pre-op neck ultrasounds can accurately predict a patient’s overall health over the next 5 to 10 years. This data is not only critical for doctors in making the operation less risky, but more successful as well.
The same researchers also discovered that the recurrence of papillary thyroid cancer, which accounts for an estimated 70% of all diagnosed cases of cancer in the thyroid, was extremely low in patients who had received a pre-operative neck ultrasound. In fact, just 0.3% of patients who’d had a pre-op neck scan had their disease return.
Post-operative Neck Ultrasounds
After a patient has received surgery and radioiodine therapy for thyroid cancer, physicians use post-operative neck ultrasounds to monitor the recovery process and observe the area to see if the cancer returns.
Although recurring cancer is unlikely if a patient received a pre-operative ultrasound, it still occurs, and physicians utilize ultrasound technology after the surgery to check for growing nodes, which is a sign that the cancer is returning. Patients who did not have a pre-operative neck ultrasound are still advised to get a post-op scan to monitor their recovery.
Since ultrasounds are quick, painless, and provide doctors with real-time imaging of the targeted area, patients are able to learn how their body is healing and recovering, without any pain or down-time.
Neck Ultrasound Technicians
If you will be undergoing thyroid cancer surgery, talk to your doctor or physician about improving the results of your operation with pre- and post-operative neck ultrasounds.
Our endocrinology professionals at Gainesville’s Thyroid Center at AccentMD offer a range of services relating to the endocrine system by using the latest in ultrasound technology. Visit our site to learn more about the benefits of undergoing our non-invasive neck ultrasound scan.