Thyroid nodules have high prevalence in the general population. Only minorities of thyroid nodules are malignant; nevertheless, still biopsies are performed in differential diagnosis of malignant and benign thyroid nodules. Conventional ultrasound is widely used in diagnosis and characterization of thyroid nodules. There are several suspicious ultrasound features that predict thyroid cancer, such as solid consistence, marked hypoechogenicity, taller-than-wide shape, irregular or microlobulated or spiculated margins, no peripheral hypoechoic halo, and micro- or macrocalcifications. However, none of these signs have high sensitivity or specificity nor high degree of confidence for diagnosis or exclusion of thyroid carcinoma. Ultrasound elastography, recently developed, promising, noninvasive technique that evaluates tissue stiffness, has become one of the main focuses in thyroid imaging. There are two ultrasound elastography methods: strain ultrasound elastography (also known as real-time elastography or qualitative elastography) and shear wave elastography (quantitative elastography and acoustic radiation force impulse imaging). The purpose of this chapter is to present the principles of thyroid application, advantages, and limitations of both ultrasound elastography techniques.
Part of the book: Thyroid Cancer