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Using Ultrasound Technology in Thyroidectomies

In recent years, there has been many medical strides in the use of ultrasound technology. No longer just a part of the pre-natal experience, ultrasound machines can be found in an assortment of specialty care offices, as part of the “medical bag” used on the sports field, or even in the veterinary office. Because an ultrasound makes it easier for doctors to assess a problem, the list of those uses will continue to grow. One such scenario where ultrasound is becoming more common is in thyroidectomy.


For people who have undergone this surgery, there has traditionally been a great deal of post-operative pain and patient discomfort. This is due to how the anesthesia is administered. Patients often experience discomfort in swallowing, a burning sensation in the throat, vomiting and nausea. There has been limited success in minimizing this by using opioids, non-steroid based medicine and local anesthesia.


However, it has now been found that using an ultrasound to help with guidance at the injection site has a number of unanticipated benefits.


Between January and March of 2017, testing was done on 36 randomly selected patients – 18 in the control group, 18 in study group. The result revealed that those patients who were given anesthesia with the use of ultrasound guidance (also known as bilateral superficial cervical plexus block) experienced less pain and post-op issues. Medical professionals feel this is because the use of the ultrasound meant that there was more accuracy with the injection.


The study also revealed that by using ultrasound the procedure was completed more quickly, and that it had a faster block onset than the traditional landmark (LM) approach. Even more impressive, in cases where ultrasound was used, the patients needed less morphine following surgery – especially once patients reached the 6 hour, and then the 24-hour marks.


Ultrasound can also be used as part of the post-operation assessment, as it is not invasive and thus means little to no stress at the surgery site. Consequently, doctors are better able to determine any potential long-term effects of the surgery and proactive rather than reactive.


When it comes to having surgery, there is already enough to be concerned about – be it the surgery or the recovery process. Thanks to this newfound knowledge that ultrasound can be used in thyroid removal surgery, your patients will have a faster recovery time, as well as experience less pain. Definitely a win-win!


So, why not give the ultrasound pros at National Ultrasound a call today, and find out what type of system will best work for your office. We can’t wait to talk with you!