General ENT

Thyroid Evaluation

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

  • An imaging study. Determines the size, location, and characteristics of any nodules within the gland. Types of imaging studies include ultrasound, CT, or MRIs.
  • A fine-needle aspiration biopsy. A safe, relatively painless procedure. With this procedure, a hypodermic needle is passed into the lump, and tissue fluid samples containing cells are taken. Several passes with the needle may be required. Sometimes ultrasound is used to guide the needle into the nodule. There is little pain afterward and very few complications from the procedure. This test gives the doctor more information on the nature of the lump in your thyroid gland and may help to differentiate a benign from a malignant or cancerous thyroid mass.
  • Thyroid surgery {link this to thyroid surgery} may be required when:
    • The fine needle aspiration is reported as indeterminate, suspicious or suggestive of cancer
    • Imaging shows that nodules have worrisome characteristics or that nodules are getting bigger
    • The trachea (windpipe) or esophagus are compressed because one or both lobes are very large

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.