What are thyroid nodules?

Thyroid nodules are small bumps on the thyroid gland (a butterfly-shaped organ in the front of the neck that regulates metabolism). Thyroid nodules can be solid or filled with fluid (cystic) or partly solid and partly cystic. Some nodules can be easily seen or felt when touching the front of the neck. Others may be harder to see or feel, and evident only on a thyroid ultrasound or thyroid scan. In rare cases, thyroid nodules can be cancerous.

What are the causes of thyroid nodules?

There are many factors that contribute to the development of thyroid nodules. This can include genetic factors, your personal and family history, exposure to radiation, and the environment. Some children develop thyroid nodules with no clear reason.

What are the symptoms of thyroid nodules?

Most children with thyroid nodules do not have any symptoms until the nodule becomes very large or unless it is cancerous. If your child does have symptoms, these might include trouble swallowing or hoarseness (raspy voice). A swelling may be noted on the front of the neck.

Rev. 5/2020. Mass General for Children and Massachusetts General Hospital do not endorse any of the brands listed on this handout. This handout is intended to provide health information so that you can be better informed. It is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to treat any medical conditions.