What Are Thyroid Masses?

Thyroid masses, or nodules, are abnormal growths in the thyroid gland. They can vary in size and may be solitary or multiple. While the majority of thyroid nodules are benign and do not cause symptoms, some may lead to thyroid dysfunction or indicate underlying thyroid cancer. Thyroid masses are typically discovered during routine physical examinations or imaging studies for other health concerns.

What Causes Thyroid Masses?

Thyroid masses can develop due to various factors, including:

Iodine Deficiency:

Insufficient iodine intake can contribute to the formation of thyroid nodules.


Inflammation of the thyroid gland, such as Hashimoto's thyroiditis or subacute thyroiditis, can lead to the development of nodules.

Genetic Factors:

A family history of thyroid disorders may increase the risk of thyroid nodules.

Radiation Exposure:

Previous radiation therapy to the head, neck, or chest area may predispose individuals to thyroid nodules.

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What Are the Symptoms of a Thyroid Mass?

Thyroid nodules often do not cause noticeable symptoms and are discovered incidentally during imaging tests. However, some individuals may experience:

  • Neck swelling or enlargement
  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • Hoarseness or voice changes
  • Thyroid pain or discomfort
  • Palpable lump or mass in the neck
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Diagnosing Your Condition

Southern ENT Associates offers comprehensive diagnostic evaluations for thyroid masses, including physical examinations, imaging studies such as ultrasound and fine-needle aspiration biopsy, and laboratory tests to assess thyroid function. Treatment options vary depending on the thyroid mass's size, characteristics, and underlying cause. They may include active surveillance, medication, radioiodine therapy, or surgical intervention, such as thyroidectomy or minimally invasive thyroid surgery.

What Are the Treatments for Thyroid Masses?

The treatment approach for thyroid masses depends on various factors, including the condition's size, characteristics, and underlying cause. Southern ENT Associates offers a range of treatment options tailored to treat the individual. Common treatments for thyroid masses include:

Active Surveillance (Watchful Waiting):

Active surveillance may be recommended for small, asymptomatic thyroid nodules that are not causing any issues. This approach involves regular monitoring of the nodules through periodic physical examinations, ultrasound imaging, and thyroid function tests. If the nodules show no significant changes over time, treatment may not be necessary.


In cases where thyroid nodules are associated with thyroid hormone imbalances or autoimmune thyroid disorders, medication may be prescribed to regulate thyroid function and manage symptoms. Medications may include thyroid hormone replacement therapy, antithyroid drugs, or medications to reduce inflammation.

Radioiodine Therapy:

Radioiodine therapy, also known as radioactive iodine ablation, is a treatment option for thyroid nodules that are causing hyperthyroidism or are suspected to be cancerous. This therapy involves the administration of radioactive iodine, which selectively destroys thyroid tissue while minimizing damage to surrounding tissues. Radioiodine therapy is often used in conjunction with thyroid hormone replacement therapy.


Thyroidectomy is a surgical procedure to remove part or all of the thyroid gland. It may be recommended for large, symptomatic thyroid nodules, suspicious or cancerous nodules, or nodules that are causing compression of nearby structures in the neck. Thyroidectomy can be performed as a traditional open surgery or as a minimally invasive procedure using techniques such as endoscopic or robotic-assisted surgery.

Minimally Invasive Procedures:

Southern ENT Associates offers minimally invasive techniques for treating thyroid nodules besides traditional thyroidectomy. These procedures, such as ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration biopsy or radiofrequency ablation, allow for targeted treatment of thyroid nodules while minimizing surgical risks and recovery time.

Before recommending a specific treatment approach, our board-certified otolaryngologists conduct thorough evaluations, including physical examinations, imaging studies, and laboratory tests, to accurately diagnose thyroid nodules and develop personalized treatment plans, prioritizing patient safety and optimal outcomes.

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Why Choose Us?

At Southern ENT Associates, our team of experienced otolaryngologists specializes in diagnosing and treating thyroid disorders, including thyroid masses. With a patient-centered approach, we prioritize thorough evaluations, accurate diagnoses, and personalized treatment plans tailored to each patient's unique needs. Our compassionate specialists utilize advanced diagnostic techniques and state-of-the-art treatments to provide comprehensive care and optimal outcomes for those with thyroid nodules.

With 6 convenient locations in Southern Louisiana, we make accessing the treatment you need easy.

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