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To assess the activity of the thyroid gland, the surgeon will

  • Take a medical history
  • Perform a physical examination

During this assesment, the surgeon will pay particular attention to the thyroid gland in the neck.

Blood will be taken for

  • Thyroid Function Tests (TFTs)
  • To check and make sure that the body has not produced any antibodies to the Thyroid (auto-immune disease).

TFTs measure the activity of the gland, through the production of Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH), T4  and, if required, the T3.

Ultrasound scans can:

  • Assess overall size of the thyroid gland
  • Check for the presence of any lumps
  • Help obtain a needle sample (cytology) from a small lump that is difficult to feel

All thyroid lumps will have a needle sample taken; this may also be undertaken when the thyroid is enlarged. 

A fine needle is inserted into the gland and a cell sample is obtained, that can be examined under a microscope.

Radionuclide Scans involve injecting a tiny amount of radioactive material.  This material is taken up by the thyroid gland and the radioactivity can be measured to give a picture of how well the gland is working. 

The test is absolutely harmless and may show areas of the thyroid that are under-active or over-active. 

Together with the ultrasound scan, this test helps to establish the correct treatment.

Occasionally other tests will be needed. 

  • Chest X-Ray - can sometimes show if a large gland is affecting the windpipe
  • CT or MRI Scan - can help to show more exactly the extent of any thyroid swelling



Thyroid conditions treated include:

  • Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
  • Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
  • Goitre
  • Thyroid nodules
  • Thyroid cancer


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