Your Neck or Thyroid Ultrasound Scan

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What is an Ultrasound Scan?
An ultrasound scan builds up a picture of part of the inside of the body using sound waves. A small hand-held sensor is moved over the skin to view the organ from different angles; the pictures are displayed on a TV monitor screen and recorded.

Parking at the Hospital
The hospital operates a pay on foot parking system. The hospital has plenty of car parking spaces but you may not be able to park close to the entrance. It is important that you arrive on time. If you are late for your appointment we can’t guarantee that you will be seen and you may have to rebook. You are advised to allow plenty of time to find a space before your appointment.

Where do I book in?
Please go to the reception desk in main X-ray, you will find directions to the department in your appointment letter.

What happens then?
You will be advised if you have to remove any clothes before entering the examination room, in which case you will be shown to a private cubicle where you may take off your outer garments. For some examinations you will be asked to put on the hospital gown and dressing gown provided, but you may prefer to bring your own dressing gown.

What happens during the scan?
A gel will be applied to your skin over the area to be scanned. This allows the sensor to slide easily over the skin and helps to produce clearer pictures. During the scan the Radiologist will look at the images on the television screen and, if necessary, look at the record of the images later, before writing a report. During your ultrasound the Radiologist may decide it is advisable to perform a
fine needle aspiration. This may be because of a previous test, or because of something that is found during the ultrasound. This test uses a “fine” or thin needle (usually thinner than a blood test needle) to suck cells from a lump or swelling in the neck or thyroid. The needle is passed up and down in the lump or swelling. This will usually be performed once. Occasionally further attempts are needed depending on the samples obtained. Samples are then prepared and sent to the laboratory where they are examined under a microscope.

Does it hurt?
You may feel a scratch as the needle passes through the skin. As with blood tests, there is no need for local anaesthetic injection (which is usually more painful than the procedure itself).

What are the benefits?
The intention is to help your doctors with a diagnosis. It may prevent the need for a surgical procedure to determine the nature of the lump or swelling. Ultrasound helps to maximise accuracy and quality of the sample taken.

Are there any after effects?
The procedure is usually very well tolerated. You should be able to drive home. Any discomfort can be managed with your usual painkillers, and paracetamol is recommended. Occasionally, bruising may occur. If there are any concerns following the test, you should contact your GP.

How long will it take?
The process of carrying out a scan usually takes about 10 – 15 minutes. Unless you are delayed, for example by emergency patients, your total time in the Department is likely to be about 30-40 minutes.

When will I get the results?
Results will go to your referring doctor. They usually take up to two weeks. Occasionally a test will be returned as “not diagnostic” meaning the laboratory have not been able to provide a diagnosis. In this case it may be necessary to repeat the test.

If you have a query about having the ultrasound scan, please ring the Radiology Department on 01908 996930 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Web Links
For further information you may like to visit the following sites: – For further information about Milton Keynes Hospital – This is the web site of the Royal College of Radiologists and click into the virtual hospital this will give you a lot of useful information about the work of a Radiology Department.

Please click here for a hospital site map. Please park in the Multi storey car park and follow the instructions on your appointment letter.