General ENT

Thyroid Evaluation

If you are evaluated and found to have thyroid nodules or other neck masses, your surgeon at Michigan ENT & Allergy Specialists will propose a treatment plan based on the examination and your test results. Possible recommendations:

Diagnostic Ultrasound Imaging

An ultrasound of the neck is ordered to evaluate thyroid nodules and other neck masses. Diagnostic ultrasound imaging is an excellent tool physicians use to gather information about the size, shape, and specific characteristics of the area in question. During the exam, our highly skilled Ultrasound Technologist will image and measure the entire thyroid. Each nodule is then thoroughly evaluated to provide details about size, blood flow, and other features. Our ultrasound machine is equipped with advanced technology that helps to provide high quality diagnostic images.

Consistency is key when following thyroid nodules. Ultrasound technology, sonographer experience, and radiologist impressions can vary with location. At our office, we ensure that these factors remain consistent in order to best evaluate and follow any growth or changes in thyroid nodules. For this reason, we strongly encourage our patients to have their ultrasounds in our offices so that we are able to provide the best, most consistent imaging studies possible!

Fine-Needle Aspiration (FNA)

This is an Ultrasound guided procedure that is performed by our ENT physicians to sample tissue from a thyroid nodule or other neck masses. An FNA is a simple, and safe procedure that is performed in our office. The results of this biopsy gives the doctor more information on the nature of the nodule and may help to differentiate a benign from a malignant or cancerous thyroid mass.

Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA) is an Ultrasound guided procedure that is simple and safe. It is performed by our ENT physicians to biopsy a thyroid nodule or other neck mass. Ultrasound guidance is an important tool in ensuring the tissue is taken directly from the nodule. Indications for an FNA are typically a nodule or cyst larger 1.0 cm (10mm) or one that has recently changed significantly according to diagnostic imaging. An FNA may also be recommended if there are smaller nodules that display unusual characteristics.

Thyroid surgery may be required when:

  • The fine needle aspiration is reported as indeterminate, suspicious or suggestive of cancer.
  • Ultrasound Imaging shows that nodules have worrisome characteristics or that nodules are getting bigger.
  • The trachea (windpipe) or esophagus are compressed due to the size and location of the nodule(s).

Historically, some thyroid nodules, including some that are malignant, have shown a reduction in size with the administration of thyroid hormone. However, this treatment, known as medical “suppression” therapy, has proven to be an unreliable treatment method.

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