Thyroid Gland

The thyroid is an organ in the lower neck that controls metabolism. Thyroid nodules are sometimes found on exam or on radiologic studies. Initial evaluation of thyroid abnormalities often involves thyroid ultrasound to evaluate the anatomy. Desert ENT provides in-office ultrasound to diagnose and follow thyroid nodules. Most thyroid nodules are benign, but some are cancerous. History of radiation therapy or family history of thyroid cancer increases the risk. The size, shape, and other characteristics of the nodule seen on ultrasound guide the physician to determine which nodules require biopsy.

Fine needle aspiration biopsy is used to sample an abnormality within the neck or thyroid under local anesthesia. A small needle is used, guided by ultrasound, to reach only the mass and sample tissue. Benign nodules are usually followed unless they progressively grow or cause symptoms such as pain or trouble swallowing. Nodules suspicious for cancer require surgery. 

Small Incision Thyroidectomy With Laryngeal Nerve Monitoring

During a thyroidectomy, the thyroid gland or part of the thyroid is removed depending on the extent of the disease. Benign nodules or small thyroid cancers usually require one half of the thyroid to be removed. Larger thyroid cancers require the whole thyroid gland to be removed. If the entire thyroid is removed, the patient will need to take thyroid hormone replacement drugs long term. Insufficient thyroid hormone will often bring about fatigue, exhaustion, depression, and difficulty concentrating. This can be corrected by taking thyroid hormone replacement pills.

Thyroid surgeries are performed through a small incision directly over the thyroid. The procedure usually takes about two hours and is done under general anesthesia. Most patients go home the same day and are able to resume normal activities one week after surgery. Strenuous activities should be avoided for at least 10 days after surgery. Thyroid surgeries are considered safe procedures with few complications. Some people may experience hoarseness or a sore throat because of the breathing tube used during surgery. During thyroid surgery, the surgeon operates near the laryngeal nerves, which control movement of the vocal cords. Laryngeal nerve monitoring helps identify the nerves to allow quicker and safer surgery.

Desert Ear, Nose & Throat


71687 Highway 111 Suite 101,
Rancho Mirage, CA 92270


8:30 am - 4:30 pm


8:30 am - 4:30 pm


8:30 am - 4:30 pm


8:30 am - 4:30 pm


8:30 am - 4:30 pm