Nodules within the thyroid gland are very common, occurring in up to 50% of the population. The vast majority of these nodules are benign and cause no significant problems. When a nodule appears or grows quickly, further investigations may be required. The results will determine whether thyroid surgery is needed.
Enlargement of the thyroid gland can cause symptoms from direct compression of adjacent structures. With significant thyroid enlargement it is not uncommon to develop symptoms of breathlessness, swallowing difficulty or a sense of pressure in the low neck. In such cases, thyroid surgery may be required.
Graves' disease is one cause of an overactive thyroid. The first line treatment for Graves' disease is usually medication, however, if this fails to control the condition, or if medications are not suitable then surgery to remove the thyroid gland may be necessary.