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What Is The Thyroid?

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the neck, consisting of two lobes that sit on either side of the trachea. It releases hormones necessary for many of the body’s vital functions, including metabolism, heart rate, body temperature, and growth and development.

What Are Thyroid Nodules?

When the thyroid tissue grows, solid- or liquid-filled lumps called thyroid nodules may form in the gland. These growths are mostly benign, with only 5% of all cases pointing to cancer. While the cause of thyroid nodules is unknown, genetics, iodine deficiency and autoimmune thyroid diseases are said to be risk factors.

Symptoms of Thyroid Nodules

Thyroid nodules are usually asymptomatic, with most of these growths detected incidentally during routine imaging tests. Larger ones cause noticeable symptoms, depending on their location in the gland. These include:

  • goiter (enlargement of the thyroid)
  • shortness of breath
  • difficulty swallowing
  • pain or tenderness at the base of the neck
  • hoarseness or voice change

Some nodules secrete excess thyroid hormones, leading to symptoms of hyperthyroidism such as rapid or irregular heartbeat, increased perspiration, muscle weakness, unexplained weight loss and difficulty sleeping.

Can Thyroid Nodules Be Prevented?

Since the causes of thyroid nodules are currently unknown and its risk factors are mainly based on a person’s genetic and chemical makeup, steps to prevent the medical condition are limited. However, one can boost his or her thyroid gland health to reduce the risk of developing nodules and other thyroid disorders. This includes eating iodine-rich food and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol intake.

How Are Thyroid Nodules Diagnosed?

To diagnose thyroid nodules, a Singapore thyroid surgeon or endocrinologist reviews the patient’s family and medical history, and perform a physical exam. Some nodules are so large that they can be seen and felt. The doctor may also recommend the following tests:

  • Thyroid Ultrasound - High-frequency sound waves are used to capture images of the thyroid, and locate and map out nodules.
  • Thyroid Scan - A radioactive iodine pill is used to highlight the structure and function of the thyroid on an X-ray. The scan also helps assess whether the nodule is “cold” or non-functioning, or “hot”, producing thyroid hormones.
  • Fine-Needle Aspiration Biopsy (FNAB) - A sample of cells are extracted from the nodule using a fine needle, and examined for signs of cancer.
  • Blood Tests - Thyroid hormone levels are measured to detect hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, both of which are indicative of nodules or other thyroid conditions.

Thyroid Surgery

We provide comprehensive surgical management of thyroid diseases, including functional assessment, ultrasonic examination, guided biopsy and thyroid surgery.

  1. Evaluation of Head and Neck masses, detailed clinical evaluation and up-to-date imaging facilities including PET/CT , PET/MRI  are available to our patients.
  2. We provide comprehensive surgical management of  thyroid disease.
  3. Thyroid malignancy diagnosis, imaging and eventual treatment is available. Surgical treatment is based on achieving excellent cure rate with minimal impact on patient’s lifestyle.
  4. Primary and Renal Tertiary Hyperparathyroidism are managed holistically with our endocrinologist and renal physician partners.

FAQs

Singapore thyroid surgeon Dr Dennis Lim specializes in the medical and surgical treatment of thyroid diseases such as nodules. Dr. Lim is also experienced in head and neck cancer surgery and melanoma surgery in Singapore. Schedule an appointment with him by calling 6836-5167.

Meet Our Medical Director

Dr Dennis T H Lim
Head and Neck General Surgeon
MBBS, M.Med (Surg), FRCS (Edin),
FRCS (Glas), FAMS
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Get in Touch

Contact Information
Dennis Lim Surgery

3 Mount Elizabeth
#11-09 Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre
Singapore 228510

Tel : (65) 6836 5167
Fax : (65) 6836 5165
Email : [email protected]
Mount Elizabeth Hospital
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