History of Thyroid Ultrasound

  • Robert A. Levine


The thyroid is well suited to ultrasound study because of its superficial location, vascularity, size, and echogenicity. In addition, the thyroid has a very high incidence of nodular disease, the vast majority benign. Most structural abnormalities of the thyroid need evaluation and monitoring, but not intervention. Thus, the thyroid was among the first organs to be well studied by ultrasound. Thyroid ultrasound has undergone a dramatic transformation from the cryptic deflections on an oscilloscope produced in A-mode scanning, to barely recognizable B-mode images, followed by initial low resolution gray scale, and now modern high resolution images. Recent advances in technology, including harmonic imaging, spatial compound imaging, contrast studies, and three-dimensional reconstruction, have furthered the field.


Thyroid Cancer Thyroid Nodule Ultrasound Contrast Agent Endemic Goiter Thyroid Ultrasound 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. 1.
    Solbiati L, Osti V, Cova L, Tonolini M. Ultrasound of the thyroid, parathyroid glands and neck lymph nodes. Eur Radiol. 2001;11(12):2411–24.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Tessler FN, Tublin ME. Thyroid sonography: current applications and future directions. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 1999;173:437–43.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Levine RA. Something old and something new: a brief history of thyroid ultrasound technology. Endocr Pract. 2004;10(3):227–33.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Woo JSK. A short history of the development of ultrasound in obstetrics and gynecology. 2011. Accessed 16 Dec 2011.
  5. 5.
    Blum M, Weiss B, Hernberg J. Evaluation of thyroid nodules by A-mode echography. Radiology. 1971;101:651–6.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Skolnick ML, Royal DR. A simple and inexpensive water bath adapting a contact scanner for thyroid and testicular imaging. J Clin Ultrasound. 1975;3(3):225–7.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Fujimoto F, Oka A, Omoto R, Hirsoe M. Ultrasound scanning of the thyroid gland as a new diagnostic approach. Ultrasonics. 1967;5:177–80.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Thijs LG. Diagnostic ultrasound in clinical thyroid investigation. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1971;32(6):709–16.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Scheible W, Leopold GR, Woo VL, Gosink BB. High resolution real-time ultrasonography of thyroid nodules. Radiology. 1979;133:413–7.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Crocker EF, McLaughlin AF, Kossoff G, Jellins J. The gray scale echographic appearance of thyroid malignancy. J Clin Ultrasound. 1974;2(4):305–6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Hassani SN, Bard RL. Evaluation of solid thyroid neoplasms by gray scale and real time ultrasonography: the “halo” sign. Ultrasound Med. 1977;4:323.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Propper RA, Skolnick ML, Weinstein BJ, Dekker A. The nonspecificity of the thyroid halo sign. J Clin Ultrasound. 1980;8:129–32.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Walfish PG, Hazani E, Strawbridge HTG, Miskin M, Rosen IB. Combined ultrasound and needle aspiration cytology in the assessment and management of hypofunctioning thyroid nodule. Ann Intern Med. 1977;87(3):270–4.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Gharib H. Fine-needle aspiration biopsy of thyroid nodules: advantages, limitations, and effect. Mayo Clin Proc. 1994;69:44–9.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Danese D, Sciacchitano S, Farsetti A, Andreoli M, Pontecorvi A. Diagnostic accuracy of conventional versus sonography guided fine-needle aspiration biopsy in the management of nonpalpable and palpable thyroid nodules. Thyroid. 1998;8:511–5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Tan GH, Gharib H, Reading CC. Solitary thyroid nodule: comparison between palpation and ultrasonography. Arch Intern Med. 1995;155:2418–23.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Cooper DS, Doherty GM, Haugen BR, et al. The American Thyroid Association Guidelines Task Force. Revised management guidelines for patients with thyroid nodules and differentiated thyroid cancer. Thyroid. 2009;19:1167–214.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Ralls PW, Mayekowa DS, Lee KP, et al. Color-flow Doppler sonography in Graves’ disease: “thyroid inferno”. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 1988;150:781–4.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Bogazzi F, Bartelena L, Brogioni S, et al. Color flow Doppler sonography rapidly differentiates type I and type II amiodaroneinduced thyrotoxicosis. Thyroid. 1997;7(4):541–5.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Grant EG. Sonographic contrast agents in vascular imaging. Semin Ultrasound CT MR. 2001;22(1):25–41.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Valcavi R. Personal communication. (2012)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Lees W. Ultrasound imaging in three and four dimensions. Semin Ultrasound CT MR. 2001;22(1):85–105.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Antonelli A, Miccoli P, Ferdeghini M. Role of neck ultrasonography in the follow-up of patients operated on for thyroid cancer. Thyroid. 1995;5(1):25–8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert A. Levine
    • 1
  1. 1.Thyroid Center of New Hampshire, Dartmouth Medical SchoolNashuaUSA

Personalised recommendations