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Ultrasound of the throat and larynx: which shows how to do

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Inflammatory diseases of the throat, for example: tonsillitis, laryngitis, in most cases do not require hardware diagnostics. An experienced ENT doctor will make a diagnosis based on a visual examination and laboratory tests.

To identify more serious problems, ultrasound of the throat and larynx is prescribed.

The procedure is informative for the doctor and patient safety. Ultrasonic waves are completely harmless to health. The study has no absolute contraindications, to the relative (relative) can be attributed to damage to the skin in the neck.

In this case, the procedure should be postponed until the injured area is completely healed.

Research options

Differentiating diseases of the throat and larynx can be quite difficult, since lymph nodes, thyroid gland, vocal folds, trachea, etc. are located in this area. Ultrasound of the throat indicates that it is specifically affected by the pathology that causes discomfort to the patient.

The main parameters of the survey are:

  • body structure and size
  • lumen size
  • Wall thickness
  • structure and condition of adjacent lymph nodes
  • the presence / absence of tumors, inflammation, erosion, metastasis.
  • complications after infectious viral diseases of the throat.

Purpose of the examination procedure

The indications for ultrasound are the following patient complaints and symptoms:

  • feeling of squeezing with difficult passage of air masses
  • excessive fluid accumulation in the adjacent lymph nodes (edema)
  • prolonged cough not associated with lung pathologies or catarrhal diseases
  • sensation of barrier when swallowing
  • decrease in sonority and loudness of voice (hoarseness, hoarseness), in the absence of cold-inflammatory processes
  • discharge with bloody and purulent impurities
  • pain in vestibular hearing aid during swallowing.

Diagnosis is prescribed when the patient feels the presence of a foreign object in the throat and pain while palpating, and the doctor feels the seal. Of course, in case of an ordinary visit to an otolaryngologist in an ordinary district clinic, they are unlikely to have a laryngopharyngeal ultrasound, but if you have these symptoms, you can ask for a referral or go through the procedure yourself in a paid diagnostic center.

Preparation and conduct of ultrasound

Special training in the form of a diet or taking certain medications is not provided. The patient is required to come for examination in comfortable clothes, with a bare throat area and without neck ornaments (chains, beads, etc.).

If the study is made specifically for the detection of a malignant tumor, it is necessary to abandon anticancer medications for a couple of days to obtain objective results.

The procedure itself is performed in a horizontal position of the patient. The study area and the ultrasound transducer are processed by a medical gel that conducts the node-wave.

The doctor moves the sensor in a calm mode down the neck. Ultrasonic waves are reflected by a reverse echo signal, which a computer program converts and displays the image of organs on a monitor. The time interval of the procedure ranges from a quarter of an hour to 30.

Features of ultrasound diagnostics

The most common purpose of ultrasound diagnosis of the throat and larynx is to suggest the presence of an oncological process. By gender, throat cancer often affects the male half. This is mainly due to nicotine or alcohol dependence.

Through ultrasound, you can diagnose a malignant tumor, determine its boundaries and detect the presence of metastases in the tissues.

In addition, the study may show the following changes:

  • inflammation and volume of lymph nodes (lymphadenitis and lymphadenopathy)
  • hyperplasia (benign tumor) of the larynx
  • presence of purulent formation (abscess) or pathological cavity (cyst)
  • laryngeal cancer
  • secondary foci of cancer (metastasis)
  • complications of chronic inflammatory diseases of the throat (laryngitis, tonsillitis, etc.)
  • the presence of foreign objects in the throat
  • stenosis (narrowing) of the laryngeal lumen
  • the presence of nodules
  • deformation of organs due to injury.

In case of confirmation of suspicion of laryngeal cancer, the patient is referred to an oncologist. To obtain the maximum amount of information, it is necessary to do laryngoscopy (examination of the laryngopharynx using special medical mirrors), fibrolaryngoscopy (assessment of the condition of the organ using a flexible endoscope equipped with a video camera), CT scan (examination on a computer tomograph).

A mandatory procedure is the sampling of laryngopharyngeal tissue (biopsy) to differentiate the nature of the tumor.


When examining the larynx, a qualified uzist will not disregard possible changes in the thyroid gland. The reason to check the functionality and condition of the endocrine system of the body are the pathology detected on the ultrasound of the larynx:

  • hyper and hypothyroidism (violation of the synthesis of hormones in the thyroid gland)
  • purulent abscess
  • the formation of one or more cysts or nodes in the thyroid gland
  • postoperative complications (if thyroid surgery was performed)
  • presence of tumor formations
  • nodular goiter
  • abnormal enlargement of the gland in volume (the norm for men is 2.5 cm, for women – 1.8 cm).

In the study protocol, these indicators will be reflected as information for the endocrinologist. To obtain more extensive data, an additional study of a blood test for thyroid hormones should be prescribed by a doctor. Despite the progressive development of medical technology, ultrasound remains one of the most popular diagnostic methods.

A timely examination will help to identify laryngopharyngeal oncological diseases in the initial period of their development.

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