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How are thyroid nodules diagnosed?

Either you or your doctor may  feel a nodule in the front of the neck. And a good number are diagnosed as "incidentalomas", nodules found when a CT scan or and MRI scan is done for another reason. Nodules found either way are of equal significance. Usually a thyroid hormone level is the first step. Then the thyroid is scanned by ultrasound to determine how many nodules are present and if they are cystic ( have a fluid filled center- usually benign). Ultrasound can also tell if the nodule  is suspicious for thyroid cancer.
Unless all the tests clearly point to a benign nodule or nodules ( nodular goiter), the gold standard is to do a fine needle aspiration of the nodules in question. It is a simple test with a very thin needle stuck in the nodule under local anesthesia and some tissue pulled back. If it is cancer, or  susupicious of thyroid cancer , then  a surgical procedure needs to be done to remove all or part of the thyroid gland  in most cases

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.