Thyroid conditions

Thyroid problems can lead to an underactive (hypo) or overactive (hyper) thyroid. Either of these conditions causes atypical production of thyroid hormone and negative effects on a person’s growth, energy, nutrition and the body’s use of other hormones.

A thyroid nodule is a growth on the thyroid that may or may not be cancerous. Minimally invasive biopsies (fine needle aspiration biopsy) may be performed on thyroid nodules to determine your risk for cancer. This can be performed in the office without an operation. Our surgeons are specially trained in ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration biopsy.

A goiter is “an enlargement of the thyroid gland.” (1)

In many cases, a goiter responds to hormone or iodine supplements. If this is ineffective and the goiter causes problems for the patient, surgeons may take out part of the gland, or remove it entirely. Complete removal of the gland is called a total thyroidectomy, while removing only part of the gland is called a partial thyroidectomy.

Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland produces too much hormone, causing fatigue, rapid heartbeat, weight loss and other symptoms. If other medical treatments are ineffective and the patient’s case is serious enough, surgeons may remove the thyroid gland.

Removing the thyroid gland typically requires the patient to take hormone replacement medications for the rest of his or her life.

Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid produces too little hormone. It is not treatable by surgery.

Thyroid cancer

There are four types of thyroid cancer: papillary cancer, medullary cancer, anaplastic cancer and follicular cancer /Hurthle cell cancer. (2) UF physicians offer a full range of  multidisciplinary treatment for thyroid cancer, including chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.

(1) Medline Plus. Goiter- simple. Revised May 10, 2010, <> (March 17, 2011)
(2) National Cancer Institute. Thyroid cancer. <> (March 17, 2011)

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