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The Thyroid Nodule

A short summary on the common thyroid nodule risk factors and diagnostic evaluation.

Otolaryngology Term

FibonacciMD Compendium

In Short

benign thyroid
Photomicrograph showing histology of a benign thyroid nodule in a patient ith multinodular goiter. Follicles of varying size are seen, many filled with colloid material.

By Michael Bergstein, MD

Definition of Thyroid Nodule

Thyroid nodules are soft tissues lesions found within the thyroid gland. They are quite common, and can be found in both adult and pediatric patients.

Approximately 95% of thyroid nodules are benign. The risk of malignant disease increases in young populations (< 20) and older populations (women > 40 and men > 50). The vast majority of malignant thyroid nodules are papillary thyroid carcinoma. Thyroid nodules can also be present in the context of inflammatory diseases of the thyroid, such as Hashimoto's thyroiditis and Grave's disease.

thyroid nodule
Fine needle aspiration cytology of from a patient with a thyroid nodule, showing malignant cells of papillary carcinoma (cancer), including an intranuclear inclusion in upper right of cell cluster.

Signs and Symptoms

Increased risk of carcinoma if:

  • Nodule if firm or fixed

  • Nodule is > 2 cm

  • Nodule is solid

  • Palpable cervical lymph nodes in setting of thyroid nodule

Read more diagnostic evaluation and Pearls-to-Know



Thyroid Nodule in FibonaccimdCOMPENDIUM



Lai SY, Mandel SJ, Weber RS. Management of Thyroid Neoplasms. In: Flint PW, Haughey BH, Lund V, Niparko JK, Robbins KT, Thomas R, Lesperance MM. Cummings Otolaryngology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders; 2015.

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