Category: Thyroid

Under the heading of “Thyroid” we discuss a wide variety of surgically relevant topics concerning the thyroid gland. Listed below are links to individual thyroid articles. You can go directly to the article that is important to you by clicking on the Title.

Thyroid Gland

The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the neck. It is positioned on the front of the breathing tube (trachea) and partially wraps around it just below the “adams apple” (larynx). It is divided into right and left halves (lobes) connected to each other by a thin strip of thyroid tissue called the …Read More »

Multi-Nodular Goiter (MNG)

Multi-nodular goiter (MNG) is a medical term describing an enlarged, lumpy thyroid gland. While iodine deficiency is a common cause world-wide, this is not true in the US. In the US, the cause is usually multifactorial and, in a given individual, frequently hard to determine. It is more common in women than men. It may …Read More »

Thyroid Nodules

Significant thyroid nodules are solid and larger than 1 cm (about 1/2 inch) in greatest dimension. Thyroid nodules are very common and are not usually cancer. Small nodules may come and go. Generally, nodules over 1-2 cm have about a 20% chance of enlarging over time Some nodules may have both solid and fluid components. …Read More »

Thyroid Cancer

Generally, well-differentiated thyroid cancer is indolent in nature and slowly progressive. It uncommonly represents a risk to the patient’s life if treated in a timely and appropriate manner. It is one of the most treatable and curable cancers. Surgery is the primary treatment. Sometimes, after surgery, treatment with radioactive iodine is indicated. Chemotherapy and radiation …Read More »

Papillary Thyroid

PTC is the most common thyroid cancer (about 80% of all thyroid cancers). Most cases present as a painless nodule that is relatively firm. Sometimes it is found on an ultrasound or CT scan done for other reasons. The diagnosis is usually made by needle biopsy (FNA). Generally, PTC has a good prognosis. Female sex, age …Read More »

Follicular Thyroid Cancer

FTC is the second most common type of thyroid cancer. FTC is more common in areas of iodine deficiency. It is relatively uncommon in the US, representing < 15% of all thyroid cancer. It is more common in women than men. It usually presents as an asymptomatic mass. Unlike PTC it is less likely to be …Read More »

Hurthle Cell Cancer (HCC)

Hurtle cell cancer is thought to be a variant of FTC. Overall the same diagnostic issues exist and the treatment approach is similar. Hurthle cell cancer may be more aggressive than FTC with spread to the lungs being more common. Hurthle cell cancer may not respond to RAI as well as PTC or FTC. For this reason some …Read More »

Medullary Thyroid Cancer (MTC)

Medullary Thyroid cancer(MTC) is considered with other well differentiated thyroid cancers, but is different in that the cells of origin are the para-follicular cells. These are cells in the thyroid gland that are not involved in making thyroid hormone. Para-follicular cells make a hormone called calcitonin. It may play a role in calcium regulation. The importance of …Read More »

Anaplastic Thyroid Carcinoma

ANAPLASTIC THYROID CARCINOMA Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma is a rare, lethal form of thyroid cancer that primarily afflict elderly patients with untreated forms of differentiated thyroid cancer. It is thought that the accumulation of mutations over time ultimately leads to the changes that create this very aggressive and almost universally lethal form of thyroid cancer. Fortunately, …Read More »

Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA)

FNA is a common procedure done in the office with local anesthesia. It is the best way to diagnose thyroid cancer. Its accuracy approaches 95%. A small amount of local anesthetic is injected into the skin and the underlying tissues. This is the most uncomfortable part of the procedure. A small needle is inserted into …Read More »