Physical exam for thyroid nodules

During a physical exam for thyroid nodules, your doctor will:

  • Look at your neck and throat to see whether there are any obvious lumps or enlargement. During the exam, your doctor may stand behind you or to your side and place his or her hands on the two lobes of your thyroid gland (one on either side of your neck). Then you will be asked to swallow water. If your doctor feels a nodule, he or she will try to determine about how large it is, whether it is firm or soft, and whether it is attached to other structures in your neck.
  • Feel lymph nodes in your neck to see if they are bigger than normal.
  • Listen to hear if your voice is hoarse or scratchy.
  • Check your heart rate and blood pressure.

A doctor who does many thyroid exams will be able to tell the difference between a thyroid nodule and general enlargement of the thyroid gland.

Last Updated: April 7, 2009

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