A thyroid nodule is a growth or lump that occurs on the thyroid gland at the base of the neck. A nodule often isn’t noticeable, and most people do not experience any symptoms. Typically, these growths are benign, but occasionally they are cancerous and must be treated.
Doctors commonly examine the thyroid as part of an annual physical, so it’s important to have periodic check-ups. Since symptoms can go unnoticed and diagnostic screenings don’t occur until a problem is detected, the best preventative measure is a routine physical exam.
Thyroid Nodule Signs and Symptoms
Because nodules are usually without symptoms until they become large, it is important to have a specialist examine you. Common symptoms that may indicate the presence of thyroid tumors and/or nodules include:
- Problems breathing
- Problems swallowing
- A feeling of a lump in the throat
If you experience any of these symptoms, contact a thyroid expert.
Thyroid Nodule Treatment
Nodules are typically discovered during a routine physical when your doctor examines the thyroid gland. Nodules can also be discovered during a CT scan or ultrasound neck for other reasons. If a nodule is found, at first an ultrasound should be performed (rather then CT scan or MRI). Based on the ultrasound assessment it will be decided if a biopsy of the nodule is to be taken (if the nodule appears to have suspicious features) or if the growth of the nodule should be followed by repeating the ultrasound in several months.
While thyroid nodule treatment depends on many factors including size and biopsy results, most cases do not require surgery. In circumstances where surgery is required, the procedure is typically done in an outpatient setting.
Thyroid Surgery Recovery
Rest is important after surgery. There is typically minor bruising and swelling near the incision, but this subsides within three to four weeks of the surgery. It is normal to feel better gradually, but if you have any concerns about recovery, be sure to call your surgeon right away.
A sore throat is common after thyroid nodule surgery. The symptoms usually subside in a few days. Taking over the counter painkillers can help with pain management. Your voice might also be hoarse after surgery. This generally returns to normal within four to six weeks.
Schedule an Appointment Today
You don’t have to suffer through thyroid problems alone. If you feel that you have a thyroid condition or you have symptoms indicating a thyroid problem, call the Thyroid Surgery Center of Excellence in Los Angeles at 888.817.1439 to schedule a consultation. We will work closely with you to answer any questions that you may have and to create the best possible treatment plan for your condition.