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Palpation of the thyroid gland: rules and techniques

Palpation of the thyroid gland is the first stage of diagnosis, which makes it possible to detect the presence of the disease. With the help of such measures, the specialist determines the degree of the disease development, and then appoints further studies.

basic information

Palpation of the thyroid gland is performed by all patients who have turned to the endocrinologist. Timely detection of certain diseases allows the specialist to prescribe conservative treatment so that a person does not have to resort to surgical intervention.

A little about the organ

What is the thyroid gland? According to experts, this is the endocrine gland that all vertebrates have. It stores iodine and produces iodine-containing hormones (iodothyronines), which take part in the growth of cells and the body as a whole, as well as in the regulation of metabolism.

Palpation of the thyroid gland is easy and simple. It is located in the neck in front of the trachea, under the larynx. Usually people have such an organ in the form of a butterfly.

Palpation of the thyroid gland. The degree of its increase

What is the procedure for? The fact is that many people suffer from the diseases of this organ. Such diseases can occur against a background of unchanged, increased or, conversely, decreased endocrine function. Occurring in certain territories, the shortage of iodine often leads to the development of cretinism and endemic goiter.

Palpation of the thyroid gland allows you to identify the presence of a problem, as well as determine the degree of the disease:

0. The size of the organ under consideration at this degree is natural. In this case, the thyroid gland is practically not palpable, and is not determined by visual inspection. By the way, at thin people during survey this organ can not be probed at all.

1. This degree is said in the case when the specialist has an isthmus in the patient when the first swallows.

2. At this stage, the isthmus becomes more prominent. At the same time, the lobes of the gland are strongly pronounced and greatly enlarged.

3. With this degree, both lobes of the thyroid gland are enlarged. Even with a visual examination of the patient, the doctor can easily notice the problem. After probing the organ, almost immediately all the existing thickenings are detected.

4. This stage is more serious. The enlargement of the thyroid gland becomes so noticeable that the so-called goiter begins to possess unnatural dimensions. Also, the gland is asymmetric, and the isthmus protrudes well. During the examination, the patient shows a squeezing of the surrounding organs and tissues in the neck. Pain with palpation of the thyroid gland begins to be felt with slight pressure. Also at this stage, the patient's voice becomes hoarse. He has a constant sense of squeezing in the neck and a feeling that something prevents him from swallowing.

5. At the last stage already developed goiter has dimensions that exceed all the permissible norms.

Palpation of the thyroid gland: technique

Feeling of the thyroid gland of the patient should be carried out only by an endocrinologist, while he observes a special technique. When examining a patient, a doctor can occupy completely different poses, helping him to accurately examine the patient, and determine the degree of increase in the internal organ.

Since the examination and palpation of the thyroid gland are carried out? The specialist adheres to the following rules:

  • Standing face to the patient, the endocrinologist puts his thumbs on the cartilage of the thyroid gland, and puts the rest on the region of the clavicle-sternomastoid muscles. If in the process of such a palpation of the data for diagnosis is not enough, the patient is asked to take a sip. As a result of this, some displacement of the cartilage takes place, and the organ is obtained as completely as possible. With this method of palpation, you can easily detect the isthmus.
  • Standing to the right of the subject, the doctor examines the patient, asks him to tilt his head forward. In this position, the muscles relax the muscles in the maximal way, that is, it is possible to probe the organ quite easily. With his left hand, the endocrinologist holds the neck in one position, and the right one gently probes both lobes of the gland.
  • Having risen from behind the patient, the expert can place the thumbs on the back surface of the neck, and the rest hold a thorough palpation of the thyroid gland.

Having carried out the described actions, the doctor can easily make a preliminary conclusion about the presence or absence of an increase in the internal organ.

Results of the study

Palpation of the thyroid gland in children and adults helps the specialist to draw preliminary conclusions about the patient's condition. In what cases should the patient be concerned? If the internal organ is not probed during the examination, then this indicates its normal state (that is, there are no pathological increases).

According to the generally accepted classification, in endocrinology three degrees are established, of which only one is a variant of the norm. As for the others, they already testify to the development of pathology.

If during the examination of the patient his thyroid gland is probed, but rather weakly, then they speak about the first stage of the disease. The last degree of the disease is diagnosed if the damage is determined very well by palpation.

Features of the study

Now you know how the palpation of the thyroid gland is carried out. Normally, this body should not be increased. At the same time, it should be noted that the examination performed by the doctor is the initial stage of the diagnosis. He does not give a full guarantee, because the specialist can make a mistake, especially when examining too thin or obese people. Although the initial idea of the patient's condition in this way can still be obtained.

Particular attention when palpating the internal organ should be given to patients with excess weight. This is due to the fact that in such people the layer of fat can be easily accepted as a thyroid gland, which will give an erroneous result of the study. Therefore, this type of examination can only be used together with others.

Benefits of palpation

The main advantage of the physical palpation of the thyroid gland is that the patient can use this method alone. But you should act very carefully. After all, ignorance of anatomical features of a person can easily lead to disastrous results.


Treatment of thyroid diseases should be started only after all diagnostic measures have been carried out, including tests for hormones. The first degrees of illness require conservative therapy. In this case, a person should drink artificial hormones and other drugs throughout his life. If this is not done, the thyroid gland may increase even more.

The most effective and proven method of treating the treated gland is its total surgical removal. However, this method is also extremely dangerous. Therefore, only an experienced surgeon should perform such an operation. However, it should be noted that before placing the patient in the intensive care unit, he must undergo special treatment. During this period, the patient is prescribed various drugs, and also recommend adhering to a strict diet rich in natural vitamins.

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