Thyroid Nodules

What is a Thyroid Nodule?

A thyroid nodule is a small lump of tissue that grows as a discreet part of the thyroid gland itself. Having a thyroid nodule is a structural problem of the thyroid and does not necessarily mean that a patient will have a functional thyroid problem with the thyroid as well. A nodule is not the same as a goiter, but patients with goiters can also have nodules. Nodules that are found in the thyroid are very common, and up to 10% of the United States population may have a thyroid nodule. Current evidence shows that they are more common in women and the incidence of unsuspected thyroid nodules increases with age. Females are more likely than men to have a thyroid nodule with a ratio of 4:1.

If you have a thyroid nodule that needs evaluation please contact our thyroid nodule coordinator, Visit our Thyroid Nodule Clinic

In autopsy surveys 37 - 57 % of patients had thyroid nodules, and most patients were unaware of this diagnosis. Unless a patient has symptoms related to thyroid nodules, generally a physician may not find a patient’s thyroid nodule during a routine office visit. In fact, if a physician were to feel a single thyroid nodule on a physical exam, there would be a 20 - 48 % chance of finding additional nodules by ultrasound testing. Thus, despite the skill of your physician, they may not be able to feel a nodule in your thyroid depending on the position of the nodules in the neck. Read here about patients with unsuspected thyroid nodules. Fortunately, the majority of thyroid nodules are caused by benign non-cancerous conditions, which have little impact on an individual’s quality or duration of life. The endocrinologists at Houston Thyroid and Endocrine run a thyroid nodule clinic weekly

*References: Thyroid. 2004 Nov;14(11):926-32, JCEM 1998; 83 3803, World J Surg 1981; 5:39, Mayo Clin Proc 1986; 61:978.