Thyroid Nodules and Goiters2020-05-31T12:44:42+00:00

Thyroid Nodules
and Goiters

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Thyroid Nodules and Goiters

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Growths on the thyroid gland are called thyroid nodules; they are usually benign and found in about 50 percent of people over the age of 50. Although they can be cancerous, most are not harmful. Treatment may involve a needle biopsy or surgical removal if deemed harmful.

When the thyroid gland grows larger than normal, it’s known as a thyroid goiter. Often painless and considered not harmful, a large goiter may cause a cough or make it difficult to breathe and swallow. Treatment varies depending on the size of the goiter and the underlying cause. Medication, radioactive iodine and surgery are all options to treat goiters.

Most thyroid nodules don’t cause symptoms. Some may, when they become large enough, be felt, seen or put pressure on your esophagus making it difficult to breathe.

Thyroid Nodule

Click the photo to view Dr. Ho discusses about thyroid nodules.

Traditional vs. Minimal Access Thyroid Surgery

Most surgeries are done via minimal access thyroid surgery. Whereas the traditional method required a 6-8” incision across the neck and a several night stay in the hospital, minimal access surgery requires a 1.5-2” surgery with patients going home the day of surgery or the following day. Many patients are off of pain medicine by the first or second postoperative day and are back to their regular diet the day of or the morning after surgery. There is no wound care and patients can shower the day of surgery.


Treatment for thyroid nodules depends on the type of thyroid nodule you have.

  • Monitoring. There are very clear guidelines regarding when we should be concerned about nodules. When they are larger than one centimeter, that’s when a biopsy should be requested. If you are experiencing abnormal blood flow or calcium deposition in the thyroid, that may also warrant a biopsy. Otherwise, they’re just monitored and checked at regular intervals with a physical exam and thyroid function test. If the benign nodule remains unchanged you may never need further treatment.
  • Radioactive Iodine Ablation. With the radioactive iodine approach, the patient takes a pill of iodine that has radioactive properties associated with it. The iodine travels through the blood to the thyroid and the radioactivity destroys the thyroid tissue, ideally producing the result that the thyroid will not make an excess of thyroid hormone following that therapy. The theory is that when the radioactive iodine is absorbed by your thyroid gland, it will cause the nodule or goiter to shrink and return to normal size between two to three months.
  • Surgery. If medical treatment fails, or if an enlarged thyroid is present and it is compressing neck structures, surgery is recommended to remove part or the entire thyroid (thyroidectomy). Removal of part of the thyroid is recommended when a toxic thyroid nodule may be producing too much hormone.

Our Thyroid and Parathyroid Experts

Henry Ho

Thyroid Cancer Testimonial

Overall, thyroid cancer remains a relatively uncommon form of cancer. However, due to new technological innovations, which are able to detect the disease early on, diagnoses are on the rise. This early detection capacity ultimately bodes well for treatment and for increasing one’s chances for long term survival.

Dennis was recently diagnosed with thyroid cancer and was referred to Henry N. Ho, M.D., a board certified otolaryngologist, specializing in head and neck cancer, president of The Ear, Nose, Throat and Plastic Surgery Associates and co-director of the Head and Neck Program at the Florida Hospital Cancer Institute.

Read His Story

Thyroid Cancer

Click the photo to view a thyroid cancer patient testimonial and how it has affected his life.

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