Thyroid Nodules  

 

How common are thyroid nodules?

Up to 1 in 3 individuals harbor a anodule, a growth , on the thyroid.  Some nodules are made of protein or colloid present in the normal thyroid accumulating in abnormally high quantities.  Other nodules can be made of accumulating fluid, sometimes bleeding inside the thyroid.  Some other times the nodules are tumors made of abnormally growing cell groups.  In rare occasions -only 3% of all nodules- the growth of cells can become malignant, that is a thyroid cancer.  

What are the Symptoms?

Most thyroid nodules produce little to no symptoms. A palpable lump on the neck can be the first sign of a thyroid growth, rarely nodules present with pain, a sensation while swallowing, or a change in the voice are some of the symptoms associated with thyroid nodules.

How is the Diagnosis Made?

Examination of the neck can detect a nodule in the thyroid. Many thyroid nodules are found during an imaging study -a CT scan of the neck or chest, an ultrasound of the carotids , or a PET scan. 

Once the nodule is found it will need to be evaluated by an ultrasound directed to the thyroid. The ultrasound will provide information of the size and character of the nodule. Some nodules will require a biopsy which is done with a local anesthetic on a doctor’s office under an ultrasound guidance.

 Do I need to get and ultrasound to find nodule?

  No , unless a nodule is found during an examination or  your family has a high prevalence of thyroid cancer there is no need to do ultrasound evaluation .  

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