Posted by: kareena | 2010/02/02

cysts on thyroid gland

hi my sister is 35 years she discovered a lump on her throat. did scan and found a 4cm cyst on her thyroid gland. docs are afraid to cut because its close to her jugular nerve. how can she remove this cyst? can she just live with it? any risks?

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Our expert says:
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Dear Kareena

A cyst on the thyroid gland needs to be examined by an ENT surgeon or general surgeon with experience in Head and Neck surgery. If this is indeed a cyst of the thyroid, it may need removal with of the affected side of the thyroid gland (thyroid lobectomy). The nerve they may be referring to is the recurrent laryngeal nerve, that allows the vocal cords to move. Damage to the nerve may cause permanent hoarseness. There is no such nerve as the jugular nerve, but the internal jugular vein does run down the side of the neck. This structure is usually avoided during thyroid surgery, so I suspect they are referring to the abovementioned nerve.
Generally speaking a single lesion/cyst/lump in the thyroid gland should be viewed with suspicion, as it may be sinister in nature. Please get the opinion of an experienced surgeon, as it is quite possible to remove the affected part of the gland without damage to the nerve. This of course relies on the opinion of the surgeon regarding the nature of the cyst.


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