The purpose of this study is to present the possibilities and benefits of ultrasonography (US) of the orbit in the diagnosis and treatment of thyroid-associated orbitopathy (TAO).
Methods: US examination of the orbit is an essential addition to clinical and laboratory examination in TAO patients. Nevertheless, it is often neglected in clinical practice or indicated with delay. Based on previously published studies and our experience with the diagnosis and treatment of TAO patients, we aim to highlight the clear benefit of US examination of the orbit and oculomotor muscles, not only for correct TAO diagnosis but also in the monitoring of the disease over time. However, knowledge of the drawbacks and limitations of this method is also essential, as we shall point out. It is always necessary to remember that US examination must be evaluated in connection with the clinical findings. A detailed recommendation for US examination of the extraocular muscles and the orbit based on our experiences with diagnosing and treating TAO patients in daily practice is also included.
Conclusion: According to our experience, US examination of the orbit is an excellent and irreplaceable tool for timely TAO diagnosis and further disease monitoring. However, considerable examiner experience and detailed knowledge of the clinical and ultrasound manifestations of TAO are essential.