History of Thyroid Ultrasound

  • Robert A. LevineEmail author
  • J. Woody Sistrunk


The thyroid is amenable 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 may not require intervention. Between 1965 and 1970, there were seven articles published specific to thyroid ultrasound. In the last 5 years, there have been over 10,000 articles published. 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, to current high-resolution images. Recent advances in technology, including harmonic imaging, spatial compound imaging, elastography, and three-dimensional reconstruction, have all furthered the field.


History A-mode B-mode Sonar Therapeutic ultrasound Diagnostic ultrasound Water bath Transducer Thyroid malignancy Fine-needle aspiration biopsy Doppler ultrasound 



American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists


American Institute of Ultrasound Medicine


American Thyroid Association


Endocrine Certification in Neck Ultrasound





The authors wish to acknowledge the work of Dr. Joseph Woo and his excellent web-based overview of the history of ultrasound. Relevant parts of his work with application to thyroid ultrasound have been presented here. For his full text, please access history1.html.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College, Thyroid Center of New Hampshire, St. Joseph HospitalNashuaUSA
  2. 2.Jackson Thyroid & Endocrine Clinic, PLLCJacksonUSA

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