Thyroid Ultrasound 101: Why Who Does and Interprets Your Ultrasound Matters. Who is doing your thyroid cancer lymph node mapping?
Ultrasounds can be done by just about any physician including including PAs,NP’s.
The point of care ultrasound is done and read by the same person. The ability to do both varies by experience and training.
2000 study found marked variation in ability to interpret thyroid ultrasounds in a university setting.
Lymph node mapping study: 52 post op necks were studied by 2 different providers with different level of experience. 6/52 cases were found with recurrence by less experienced group. 16/52 recurrences by expert group.
Which group do you want to do your cancer study?
Routine radiology ultrasounds done by a tech and sent to be read by the radiologist did poorly compared to point of care physicians doing real time US and doing their own read out.
One study comparing dedicated point of care physician to a radiologist found
the lymph node status of the thyroid cancer patient 70% more often than the radiologist 20%.
The recurrence rate and neck RAI/131 uptake post op was lower if the point of care did the pre-op ultrasound. (12% vs 0%)
The problem focused ultrasound is the way to do ultrasound. Are there any cancer lymph nodes BEFORE the surgery? If there are cancer nodes, biopsy and do a neck dissection with the original surgery.
Thyroid and neck ultrasound is a special area requiring experience and specific goals for the ultrasound set up before the study. Endocrine Certification in neck ultrasound (ECNU) certified endocrinologists ( aace.com) are the right group to give you the best chance to find the specific problems in your neck needing treatment.