Benign thyroid nodules are non-cancerous. These bumps are treated in 3 ways:
- Ethanol injection and other ablative techniques
Patients with benign thyroid nodules are often followed (surveillance) without surgery. Ultrasounds of the thyroid are performed to monitor the thyroid nodule for growth, changes in characteristics and to assess for other abnormalities in the thyroid gland and neck. If the nodule demonstrates growth or suspicious changes, a biopsy may be warranted.
When a thyroid nodule is small, it often will not cause symptoms for the patient. At times, however, patients may experience discomfort or compressive symptoms due to the size of the nodule or the specific location of the nodule in the thyroid. In these cases, some form of treatment may be required. Surgery is one of the common ways to treat these nodules.
Alternative, less invasive techniques to treat benign thyroid nodules, do exist. This includes:
- Fine-needle aspiration (FNA): For cystic thyroid nodules (filled with fluid), the fluid may simply be aspirated with a needle. In many cases, however, the fluid re-accumulates. Some patients may still prefer repetitive aspirations over surgery.
- Ultrasound-guided percutaneous ethanol therapy: Cystic thyroid nodules can also be treated by injecting certain agents into the bump. One such technique is the use of ethanol as an injecting agent to attempt to break down the nodule. This technique is performed at the ENT Specialty Group.