Your Thyroid Gland

Written by James Norman MD, FACS, FACE

The thyroid gland is the biggest gland in the neck. It is situated in the anterior (front) neck below the skin and muscle layers. The thyroid gland takes the shape of a butterfly with the two wings being represented by the left and right thyroid lobes which wrap around the trachea. The sole function of the thyroid is to make thyroid hormone. This hormone has an effect on nearly all tissues of the body where it increases cellular activity. The function of the thyroid, therefore, is to regulate the body's metabolism.
 

Common Thyroid Problems

The thyroid gland is prone to several very distinct problems, some of which are extremely common. These problems can be broken down into [1] those concerning the production of hormone (too much, or too little), [2] those due to increased growth of the thyroid, causing compression of important neck structures or simply appearing as a mass in the neck, [3] the formation of nodules or lumps within the thyroid which are worrisome for the presence of thyroid cancer, and [4] those which are cancerous. Each thyroid topic is addressed separately and illustrated with actual patient x-rays and pictures to make them easier to understand. The information on this web site is arranged to give you more detailed and complex information as you read further.

 

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