Thyroid Nodule Clinic
The thyroid nodule clinic is a regional referral service for the assessment of patients with thyroid nodules.
This clinic also provides long-term follow up for patients with differentiated thyroid cancer.
Consultants: Professor Mark Strachan & Dr Fraser Gibb
What is the thyroid gland?
The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland situated in the front of the neck, just below the Adam’s apple, and is responsible for producing thyroid hormones (T4 and T3). Thyroid hormones help control metabolism and health problems can occur if the gland produces too much or not enough hormone.
Why have I been referred to this clinic?
The most common reason for being referred to this clinic is that a swelling or enlargement of the thyroid gland has been detected. Up to a third of the adult population have nodules in the thyroid gland, although these are rarely significant and most people are not aware of them. 95% of thyroid nodules are benign but it is important that the correct tests are performed to confirm this.
What will happen at this clinic?
If you have been newly referred with a thyroid nodule, the clinic doctor will ask a number of questions and examine your neck. In certain situations it can be useful to perform a test known as a ‘fine needle aspirate’ (FNA). As the name suggests, fine needle aspiration involves sampling tissue from a thyroid nodule using a thin needle; this helps determine whether the nodule is benign (the most common outcome) or suspicious. The following video, from the Cleveland Clinic (USA), demonstrates the process involved in FNA:
Often the clinic doctor will refer patients for an ultrasound scan of the thyroid gland, which provides further information on whether a nodule is benign or suspicious.
Where can I find more information?
More information about the investigation of thyroid nodules is available by clicking here.
The vast majority of new patients referred to the thyroid nodule clinic do not have thyroid cancer. If you would like to learn more about thyroid cancer, the following resources are useful:
British Thyroid Foundation - an organisation which provides information and support to people with thyroid disease.
Butterfly Thyroid Cancer Trust - an organisation dedicated to supporting people with thyroid cancer.
The Butterfly Thyroid Cancer Trust have produced a very useful DVD which details many of the aspects of thyroid cancer diagnosis and treatment. These are available in the clinic – please ask if you wish to obtain a copy.
Information for clinicians
ENDOCRINE MULTI-DISCIPLINARY MEETING
If you wish to discuss a case at the endocrine MDM, please complete the MDM referral form and email to endocrineMDT@nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk