Thyroid goiter refers to an enlarged thyroid in the absence of inflammation, infection, or tumor. Most goiters are asymptomatic and can be followed and treated medically if necessary. Unchecked growth of the thyroid can sometimes lead to difficulty swallowing, voice changes, or breathing problems. If these symptoms develop and don’t respond to medical treatment, then thyroid surgery might be recommended.
Goiters typically contain many thyroid nodules. Certain nodules harbor a risk for thyroid carcinoma, thus all goiters should receive a thyroid ultrasound to check for large (dominant) nodules or smaller nodules with suspicious features. Fine needle aspiration and/or thyroid surgery might be suggested if a goiter exhibits a nodule suspicious for carcinoma.
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