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Goiter

Goiter is an enlargement of the thyroid gland. The resulting bulge on the neck may become extremely large, but most simple goiters are brought under control before this happens. Occasionally a simple goiter may cause some difficulty in breathing and swallowing.

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(Source: NIH - National Cancer Institute)

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Evidence reviews

Total or near‐total thyroidectomy versus subtotal thyroidectomy for multinodular non‐toxic goitre in adults

Multinodular goitre refers to a generalised enlarged thyroid gland with recognisable nodules within it. The thyroid gland consists of two connected lobes. People affected by goitre often present with a non‐symmetrical enlargement of the thyroid gland with a visible swelling in the anterior aspect of the neck. One or more nodules can be recognised. The most frequent cause of multinodular goitre is iodine deficiency. Non‐toxic goitre means that the nodules do not secret thyroid hormones in an uncontrolled way. Total thyroidectomy is an operation that involves the surgical removal of the whole thyroid gland. Near‐total thyroidectomy is an operation that involves the surgical removal of both thyroid lobes except for a small amount of thyroid tissue (on one or both sides less than 1.0 mL). Subtotal thyroidectomy leaves 3 g to 5 g on the less affected side of the thyroid gland.

Recombinant human thyrotropin before 131I therapy in patients with nodular goiter: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Bibliographic details: Lee YY, Tam KW, Lin YM, Leu WJ, Chang JC, Hsiao CL, Hsu MT, Hsieh AT.  Recombinant human thyrotropin before 131I therapy in patients with nodular goiter: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Clinical Endocrinology 2014: epub

Compare the postoperative complications incidence of benign multi-nodular goiter: a meta-analysis

Bibliographic details: Si P, Xu Y, Tu Y, Guo Y, Sun S.  Compare the postoperative complications incidence of benign multi-nodular goiter: a meta-analysis. Chinese-German Journal of Clinical Oncology 2012; 11(10): 575-580 Available from: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10330-012-1032-7

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Summaries for consumers

Total or near‐total thyroidectomy versus subtotal thyroidectomy for multinodular non‐toxic goitre in adults

Multinodular goitre refers to a generalised enlarged thyroid gland with recognisable nodules within it. The thyroid gland consists of two connected lobes. People affected by goitre often present with a non‐symmetrical enlargement of the thyroid gland with a visible swelling in the anterior aspect of the neck. One or more nodules can be recognised. The most frequent cause of multinodular goitre is iodine deficiency. Non‐toxic goitre means that the nodules do not secret thyroid hormones in an uncontrolled way. Total thyroidectomy is an operation that involves the surgical removal of the whole thyroid gland. Near‐total thyroidectomy is an operation that involves the surgical removal of both thyroid lobes except for a small amount of thyroid tissue (on one or both sides less than 1.0 mL). Subtotal thyroidectomy leaves 3 g to 5 g on the less affected side of the thyroid gland.

Iodine supplementation for preventing iodine deficiency disorders in children

Iodine deficiency causes mental retardation in children as well as an enlarged thyroid gland (goitre) and sometimes deficiencies in thyroid hormones in people of all ages. It still exists in large parts of the world. This review looked at studies with a comparison group of iodine supplementation in children. Twenty‐six studies were included, but these were generally of poor quality. Iodine was given as iodised oil, salt or water. Giving iodine generally decreased thyroid size and increased iodine in the urine. One study suggested a reduction in infant mortality. In some studies there was a trend towards better developmental outcomes after iodine prophylaxis. There was some concern in studies using iodised salt that small children may not eat enough salt to achieve adequate iodine status. Adverse effects were reported, and most of them were minor and did not last long. More high quality long term studies measuring outcomes related to child development, to deaths associated with iodine‐deficiency, and to intervention programmes relevant to children in developed countries, are needed.

How does the thyroid work?

The thyroid is a vitally important hormonal gland that regulates metabolism and growth in the body. The thyroid hormones T3 and T4 increase the basal metabolic rate. In other words, they make the body cells work harder, using more energy. If more energy is needed for metabolic processes in the body – for instance for growth, when it is cold, or during pregnancy – more hormones are produced and transported into the blood.

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More about Goiter

Photo of an adult

Also called: Goitre

Other terms to know:
Graves' Disease, Hyperthyroidism, Thyroid Gland

Related articles:
Thyroid Function Tests

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