We interrogated the application and imaging features obtained by non-invasive and handheld optoacoustic imaging of the thyroid in-vivo. Optoacoustics can offer complementary contrast to ultrasound, by resolving optical absorption-based and offering speckle-free imaging. In particular we inquired whether vascular structures could be better resolved using optoacoustics. For this reason we developed a compact handheld version of real-time multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) using a detector adapted to the dimensions and overall geometry of the human neck. For delivering high-fidelity performance, a curved ultrasound array was employed. The feasibility of handheld thyroid MSOT was assessed on healthy human volunteers at single wavelength. The results were contrasted to ultrasound and Doppler ultrasound images obtained from the same volunteers. Imaging findings demonstrate the overall MSOT utility to accurately retrieve optical features consistent with the thyroid anatomy and the morphology of surrounding structures.