The thyroid gland is located in the lower part of your neck below your larynx and above your clavicles. This gland is important for your metabolism and for regulating how your body stores and uses energy. Nodules sometimes develop on the thyroid gland. Thyroid nodules are common and affect up to 50% of people. Fortunately, from 90 to 95% of thyroid nodules are benign. Since most nodules do not cause symptoms, many people do not realize that they have them until they are discovered while their doctors are performing scans for other issues. If you discover that you have a thyroid nodule, Accent can provide you with the help that you need.
How thyroid nodules are typically discovered
A majority of thyroid nodules are discovered during scans of their necks for other reasons. Sometimes, however, nodules on the thyroid gland can grow enough that you might notice a bulge on the front of your neck when you look in the mirror. A large nodule might also cause discomfort with necklaces or clothing with collars that encircle the neck. If you notice pressure or a lump in your neck, you should talk to your doctor.
What doctors do about thyroid nodules
If you think that you have a thyroid nodule or one is discovered during different scan, your doctor may order an ultrasound of your thyroid gland. In many cases, a doctor can look at the images and figure out whether the nodule needs to be biopsied based on its features and size. For example, calcium deposits, uneven borders, tall nodules, and dark nodules may all warrant biopsies. Your doctor might repeat the ultrasound periodically to determine whether the nodule might be growing since ultrasounds do not use radiation. If your doctor decides that you need a biopsy, he or she will take a sample from the nodule using a thin needle in an outpatient office procedure. The samples will then be used to make slides so they can be examined with a microscope.
Treatment of nodules
If your thyroid nodule is not cancerous and is asymptomatic, your doctor will likely just perform periodic scans to check for changes. If you do have symptoms, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove your thyroid nodule or a portion of your thyroid gland. If you have a thyroid nodule, you need to keep your appointments with your doctor and notify him or her if you develop any symptoms.
The health care professionals at Accent can help people with thyroid gland problems. To learn more, schedule an appointment today.