What are the treatment options for thyroid cysts?

Most thyroid cysts are benign or noncancerous and require no treatment. However, they should be checked by your doctor on a regular basis, such as every six or twelve months. Your doctor might want to do another biopsy or ultrasound, especially if the cyst increases in size. In some cases, doctors treat benign thyroid nodules with a drug called levothyroxine, which suppresses a hormone that stimulates thyroid tissue growth, but this treatment for benign growths is controversial because its necessity and efficacy are subject to debate. In rare cases, a thyroid cyst might be large enough to cause problems with other structures in the neck, such as difficulty swallowing or breathing. In those cases, surgical removal of the cyst is often an option.

Following are treatment options for thyroid cysts:

  • Large cysts, greater than 3 centimeters, that have a solid component should be aspirated. 
  • Pure cysts, smaller than 3 centimeters, may be followed with an exam and ultrasound to assess for change. 
  • Alternative management includes ablative methods such as the instillation of ethanol. 
  • Surgery is utilized if the individual becomes symptomatic.

Rarely there may be a complete spontaneous resolution of a thyroid cyst.

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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.