Head & Neck

What Are Thyroid Lumps & How Are They Diagnosed?

January 17, 2024
Thyroid Lumps

The thyroid, a small butterfly-shaped gland in your neck, can sometimes develop growths or nodules. While over 95% of thyroid lumps are noncancerous, they still warrant careful attention due to the potential impact on your overall health.

Join us as we explore the ins and outs of thyroid lumps, their symptoms, and when you should visit an ENT Specialist in Singapore to get them checked. 

What Are Thyroid Lumps?

Thyroid lumps are abnormal growths that form on the thyroid gland and can vary in size and texture. They may be detected during a routine physical examination or when an individual experiences symptoms.

Some factors that may contribute to their development include iodine deficiency, inflammation of the thyroid, overgrowth of normal thyroid tissue, or thyroid cancer. 

In many cases, thyroid lumps may not cause any noticeable symptoms. However, some may experience difficulty swallowing, hoarseness, or a palpable lump or swelling in the neck. 

Thus, it is essential to pay attention to any unusual changes and seek medical advice at an ENT clinic in Singapore as soon as symptoms arise.

How Are Thyroid Lumps Diagnosed?

Thyroid Lumps Diagnosis

These are some diagnostic tests an ENT Specialist may employ: 

1. Physical Examination

The ENT Specialist examines the neck to detect any swelling, lumps, or abnormalities in the thyroid gland. They may instruct you to swallow as they assess your thyroid because a thyroid lump typically moves upward and downward during the swallowing process.


2. Imaging Tests

Ultrasound imaging provides detailed information about the size, shape, and characteristics of the lumps. In some cases, a CT scan may be recommended to obtain more detailed images of the thyroid and surrounding structures.


3. Biopsy

When imaging studies indicate the need for further investigation, a biopsy may be performed to obtain a tissue sample from the thyroid lumps. The most common is the fine-needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy, which involves using a thin needle to extract a small sample of tissue from the lump. The sample is then analysed to determine whether the lump is benign or malignant.


4. Blood Tests

The ENT Specialist may conduct blood tests to measure levels of thyroid hormones and thyroid-stimulating hormone. Abnormal hormone levels may indicate underlying thyroid issues that need further evaluation. 



When Is Thyroid Surgery Necessary?

Woman patient have abnormal enlargement of thyroid gland


If the thyroid lumps are small, asymptomatic, and noncancerous, the ENT Specialist monitoring them may suffice. In other cases, the specialist may suggest thyroid hormone replacement therapy if the lumps are associated with an imbalance in thyroid hormone levels. Medications may also be prescribed to manage the lumps and symptoms. 

Thyroid surgery, also known as thyroidectomy, is usually recommended in a few circumstances:


  • Cancer Diagnosis


If a thyroid nodule is suspected or  found to be cancerous, thyroid surgery may be necessary to remove the cancerous tissue. The extent of surgery will depend on the type and stage of thyroid cancer.


  • Compressive symptoms from enlarged thyroid gland or lump


A significantly enlarged thyroid gland or a large thyroid lump may cause difficulty in breathing, swallowing, or speaking. If it is causing compression of nearby structures, thyroid surgery can help to reduce its size and alleviate symptoms.


  • Hyperthyroidism


Thyroid surgery may be an option for individuals with an overactive thyroid that does not respond well to medication or radioactive iodine treatment, as removing a portion of the entire thyroid gland can help normalise thyroid hormone levels.


  • Recurrent Thyroid Lumps


If thyroid lumps continue to grow or recur, surgical removal of the nodules or part of the thyroid gland may be recommended.


  • Cosmetic Concerns


Some individuals may opt for thyroid surgery for cosmetic reasons, especially if a visible thyroid enlargement affects their appearance.


Learn more: What to Expect Before & After Thyroid Surgery


Your Guide to Thyroid Health


Regular check-ups and open communication with an ENT Specialist form the foundation of thyroid health.


If you are experiencing any symptoms, do not hesitate to reach out to Dr Gan Eng Cern. His ENT clinic in Singapore addresses a diverse array of conditions, including the evaluation and management of thyroid lumps.

Get in touch to find out more.

    When Should You See an ENT Specialist in Singapore?

    • Any ear, nose or throat symptoms that you are troubled with or concerned about
    • Persistent blocked nose with mouth breathing or snoring

    Dr Gan Eng Cern

    Dr Gan Eng Cern is a distinguished ENT doctor with fellowship training. In addition to his clinical practice as an ear, nose and throat specialist in Singapore, Dr. Gan has contributed to the academic field as a Senior Clinical Lecturer at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore. He is recognised for his extensive research work, with numerous contributions to reputable international ENT journals. Dr Gan is also highly sought after as a speaker and has shared his surgical knowledge as a surgical dissection teacher at various prominent ENT conferences and courses.


    • 2020 – Reader’s Choice Gold Award for Best ENT Specialist (Expat Living Singapore)
    • 2016 – Best Educator Award (Eastern Health Alliance)
    • 2016 – “Wow” Award (Patient Compliment)
    • 2014 – Eastern Health Alliance Caring Award – Silver
    • 2014 – 19th Yahya Cohen Memorial Lectureship (awarded by the College of Surgeons, Academy of Medicine Singapore for best scientific surgical paper)
    • 2012 – Human Manpower Development Award (Ministry of Health, Singapore)
    • 2007 – Singhealth Best Doctor Award


    • MBBS – Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia)
    • MRCS (Edin) – Member of the Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh, United Kingdom
    • MMed (ORL) – Master of Medicine in ENT (National University of Singapore)
    • FAMS – Fellow of the Academy of Medicine Singapore

    Why Choose Dr Gan Eng Cern


    Reliable & Reputable ENT Expert

    Experienced and patient ENT Specialist who has your best interests at heart. We aim to provide you with accessible and specialized care for any ENT condition in a comfortable setting.


    Friendly & Helpful Clinic Staff

    Our friendly staff will assist you to the best of our ability and we are happy to accept most insurance providers and assist with E-filing with relevant insurance providers or Medisave.


    Advanced ENT Equipment & Fully Equipped Facility

    Our ENT Specialist, Dr Gan Eng Cern, will be able to diagnose and offer personalised treatments for your specific ENT condition. You can expect a high level of ENT care in a spacious setting with in-house minor surgical, endoscopy, allergy testing and microscopy services.


    Financial Options

    There are various financial options available for you to ensure that you are able to receive the most optimal treatment and care. Our ENT clinic staff will be able to assist you with your medical insurance claims and work with your chosen healthcare organization to minimize the hassle and paperwork required. In some cases, you may be able to utilise the funds in your Medisave account to defray part of the costs of your treatment. As our clinic is accredited by the Medisave board, we are able to process your claims from your Medisave for certain clinic procedures.

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