Your thyroid is a 2 inch gland that consists of two lobes, one on each side of the windpipe below the larynx (voice box) in the front of your neck. Depending on whether your thyroid is overactive or underactive, you can experience a range of symptoms, including an increased heart rate and sensitivity to heat, or fatigue and sensitivity to cold.
A Novant Health UVA Health System specialist may perform a needle biopsy to remove a small sample of tissue and examine it under a microscope for cancer, infection or other thyroid disorders such as hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.
Your surgeon may also perform a lymph node dissection to remove lymph nodes around the thyroid and examine them for cancer cells.
A goiter is an enlargement of your thyroid gland. If it becomes large enough, you may experience symptoms even if it's not cancerous. Symptoms include difficulty swallowing, coughing, hoarseness and even compression of your airway causing difficulty breathing.
Your physician may recommend removal of part or all of the thyroid gland. To avoid damage to surrounding delicate tissues, a highly-skilled surgeon will carefully remove a lobe or the entire gland and sometimes the lymph nodes surrounding the gland.