Thyroid Nodule

Overview

The term thyroid nodule refers to any abnormal growth of thyroid cells into a lump within the thyroid gland. They may occur as single nodules or multiple nodules in the setting of an enlarged thyroid (nontoxic nodular goiter). Thyroid nodules are very common occurring in up to 30 percent of the population. Though most thyroid nodules are benign, solitary thyroid nodules more than 2 cm in size have an increased risk of being malignant.

Thyroid Nodule Symptoms: Most thyroid nodules do not cause symptoms. If symptoms are present however, they may include:

  • Pressure in the neck
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Hoarseness
  • Chronic cough

Evaluation: Thyroid nodules should be worked up in a systematic, multidisciplinary setting. Depending on the patient’s clinical presentation, the work-up includes:

  • Physical examination
  • Detailed family history
  • Thyroid ultrasound
  • Thyroid scan
  • Fine needle aspiration biopsy with or without ultrasound guidance