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5 Reasons Your Endocrinologist Might Recommend a Diagnostic Ultrasound

5 Reasons Your Endocrinologist Might Recommend a Diagnostic Ultrasound

Your endocrine system is a complex network of glands that produce and release hormones. These hormones regulate essential physiological processes — like metabolism, growth, reproduction, and mood — and issues within your endocrine system can profoundly impact your overall health.

If your doctor has recommended an endocrine diagnostic ultrasound, you might feel a mix of curiosity and apprehension. You might wonder why you might need it and what it entails. We’re here to help answer some of those questions.

Our Endocrine Associates of West Village team specializes in diagnostic ultrasound, a noninvasive procedure that examines your endocrine glands and detects and diagnoses abnormalities. 

Here are five reasons we might recommend a diagnostic ultrasound and what to expect during the procedure.

1. Detect thyroid abnormalities

Your thyroid gland helps regulate metabolism, energy level, and body temperature. Thyroid disease is very common, and a diagnostic ultrasound can help identify abnormalities like nodules, enlargement (goiter), or inflammation (thyroiditis).

The images we capture during your ultrasound can provide valuable information for diagnosing conditions like hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, or even thyroid cancer. Depending on your symptoms, we may also recommend an ultrasound of your parathyroid glands.

Your parathyroid glands are tiny structures near your thyroid, responsible for regulating calcium levels in your body.  Ultrasound imaging can help detect abnormalities in the parathyroid glands, including tumors or enlargement.

2. Evaluate your adrenal glands

Your adrenal glands produce hormones that influence metabolism, stress response, and blood pressure. Conditions like adrenal tumors, hyperplasia, or insufficiency can all impact your health, and a diagnostic ultrasound can assess the size and structure of your adrenal glands so we can properly diagnose your condition.

3. Examine your pituitary gland

Your pituitary gland is pea-sized and sits at the base of your brain. It’s sometimes called the "master gland," because it helps regulate other parts of your endocrine system. Conditions like acromegaly, Cushing's disease, or hypopituitarism can interfere with your overall endocrine function, and diagnostic ultrasound gives us an up-close look to detect pituitary tumors and other abnormalities.

4. Diagnose pancreatic disease

Your pancreas is an essential organ that supports digestion and glucose metabolism. We recommend diagnostic ultrasound imaging to identify abnormalities in your pancreas, including inflammation (pancreatitis), cysts, or tumors. A few possible conditions we might look for are pancreatic cysts, chronic pancreatitis, and pancreatic cancer.

5. Monitor treatment progress

Ultrasound is a valuable tool in endocrine diagnostics, but that’s not its only use. We may order additional ultrasounds to monitor the effectiveness of treatment. For example, if you're undergoing therapy for thyroid nodules or adrenal tumors, regular ultrasound scans can track changes in size or appearance and provide valuable feedback for your healthcare team.

What to expect during a diagnostic ultrasound

Now that you understand why your endocrinologist might recommend a diagnostic ultrasound, here’s a quick summary of what to expect during the procedure. Rest assured, the procedure is straightforward and non-invasive.

Depending on the area being examined (e.g., neck for thyroid ultrasound or abdomen for adrenal ultrasound), you may need to lie on an examination table or sit upright in a chair. We apply a gel to your skin over the area of interest, then gently press a small handheld device called a transducer against your skin.

We move the transducer around to capture images from different angles. You may feel slight pressure as we move the transducer over the examination area, but the procedure should be painless.

Once we’ve captured all the images we need, we wipe off the gel, and you can resume your normal activities immediately. Your endocrinologist will review the images and discuss the findings with you during a follow-up appointment.

If your doctor suspects you have an endocrine condition, a diagnostic ultrasound might be the next step to getting an accurate diagnosis. Learn more by making an appointment at Endocrine Associates of West Village. Call our offices in Brooklyn, Long Island City, and New York, New York, or request an appointment online now.

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