Goiter: Meaning, Diagnosis and Overview

What is Goiter?

  • Goitre is an abnormal enlargement of the thyroid gland that causes a lump to form in the throat. This is more common in women.
  • Goitre can occur in a gland that is producing too much hormone (Hyperthyroidism), too little hormone (Hypothyroidism), or the correct amount of hormone (Euthyroidism).
  • There are two types of Goitre:
  1. Diffuse Small Goiter where the whole thyroid gland swells. When touched it feels smooth.
  2. Nodular Goiter where certain parts of the thyroid gland nodules swell. The gland may feel lumpy when touched.
Goiter overview

Recovery Time

Recovery depends on the type of the treatment. Treatment for Goitre can include medication and surgery. 
  • The medicine works by gradually reducing levels of thyroid hormones, so it may be several weeks.
  • The recovery period for Goitre removal surgery is typically one to two weeks.


Diagnosis is done by the physical examination for swelling of the neck. The other tests include:
  • Blood tests ( hormone test and antibody test)
  • Thyroid scan
  • Ultrasound
  • Biopsy 
Goiter diagnosis

FAQs prepared by doctor

Q1.  Is Goiter and Cancer Same?
No, certainly not. Thyroid cancer is not common. There are certain clinical pointers are there which tells us whether thyroid cancer is high on the card or not. If yes, we can perform a simple test called FNAC to see a few cells under the microscope. Once a diagnosis of cancer is made, thyroid gland is removed and radiotherapy is given.

Q2.  Is surgery the best treatment for Goitre?
  • No. Iodine or thyroid hormone replacement induces variable regression of goiter in iodine deficiency. Significant improvement is usually seen within 3-6 months of treatment; after this time, it is unlikely to occur.
  • Surgery is rarely indicated, only for diffuse goiter. Exceptions include documented evidence of tracheal compression or obstruction of the thoracic outlet, which are more likely to be associated with sub-sternal multi-nodular goiters. Subtotal or near-total thyroidectomy for these or cosmetic reasons should be performed by an experienced surgeon to minimize complication rates.
Q3.  What are the risks to foetus in pregnancy?
It affects foetal neural development and cause pre term delivery.

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