Thyroid Nodules (masses) are quite common, and may occur at any age. These are lumps found by examination or by ultrasound, CAT scan or MRI performed for other reasons. They rarely cause symptoms, but may be cancerous.
Most patients are not even aware that they have a thyroid nodule. A prior history of exposure to radiation may increase one’s risk of having nodules and thyroid cancer. Assessment necessitates ultrasound, and often ultrasonically guided needle biopsy – an office based procedure which causes minimal discomfort, and occasionally a thyroid scan. Decisions on treatment such as surgical removal are based on several factors: symptoms, nodule size, changes over time, and suspicion of cancer.
Consultation with a thyroid specialist is the best place to start in the evaluation. Decisions regarding surgery including medical necessity, timing and extent along with risks and consequences will be addressed.