Thyroid Ultrasound

The thyroid ultrasound should not be used for screening, or to examine a wide population, when no specific symptoms present themselves. There is a real possibility of finding benign nodules – or ones that wouldn’t cause any trouble – and assuming that they might be malignant and dangerous. Sometimes this even results in unnecessary surgery.

Advice from Altroconsumo

- If you have noticed the appearance of a swelling on the neck, or if you have a frequent cough, hoarseness and difficulty swallowing, immediately seek the advice of a physician.
- Keep in mind that the place where you live and your dietary habits influence how your thyroid functions: talk about it with your doctor.
- When you go to the doctor, bring a list of medications that you are taking: some medications taken for heart problems (amiodarone and propranolol), psychiatric problems (lithium, phenytoin), anti-viral therapy (interferon), oestrogen, and some antibiotics (rifampicin) can have a direct effect on the proper functioning of the thyroid or may interfere with the strength of thyroid hormones.
- Tell your doctor about any heart or blood pressure problems: some of these conditions can be associated with thyroid dysfunction.
- When the thyroid ultrasound shows a benign nodule, the specialist suggests that you keep an eye on it: Get a clear explanation of what this means and how often the situation needs to be checked.

Questions to your doctor

If the doctor prescribes a test, medication or surgery, remember that “Doing more does not mean doing better” and ask:

  • Do I really need this exam/treatment?
  • What are the risks?
  • Are there simpler and safer alternatives?
  • What happens if I don’t take this exam/treatment?

Download the document and bring it to your doctor to discuss

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In collaboration with

AME - Italian Association of Medical Endocrinologists

The information available in this tool is a clue to talk to your doctor or trusted professional. It is not a substitute for information and advice that you can get by contacting them directly.

To find out more and to know the sources used, consult the Altroconsumo website and the Choosing Wisely Italy website