A cyst of the thyroid gland is a hollow formation surrounded by a capsule with liquid contents, in most cases having a benign nature.
In other words, it is a vial whose walls are lined with epithelium that produces a liquid. Of all endocrinological diseases, about 3-5% are accounted for by thyroid cysts.
Types of cystic formations
Before a diagnosis is made and treatment is prescribed, the doctor must understand which cyst he is dealing with, since such indentations in the tissues of the gland are different:
- 1) Simple, or true cysts are cavities that are in capsules and contain fluid, the composition of which is divided into colloidal and serous. Characterized by benignity and rare occurrence.
- 2) Cystadenoma, or cystic modification of thyroid nodules. Appears as a result of circulatory disorders and developing tissue necrosis. The cyst cavity is filled with both serous fluid and blood. The walls are made up of the tissues of the node that formed it. This is a secondary pathology and, according to statistics, about 30% of all nodes gradually degenerate into cystic formations.
- 3) Cysts that are indirectly related to the thyroid gland, as located in close proximity to it. These include formations arising in the process of embryogenesis, that is, congenital. Cystic teratomas, cysts resulting from helminthic invasion, parathyroid cysts also occur. It should be said that these are slightly different diseases, but they should be mentioned as they are often confused with cysts of the thyroid gland.
Causes of thyroid cyst
Why does a thyroid cyst develop, and what is it? As a result of wear and tear of tissues, their loss of elasticity, and also due to a disturbance in the configuration of the gland, modified abdominal areas appear in which a gel-like substance, a colloid, accumulates. If the outflow of fluid is disturbed, it accumulates with the subsequent formation of a cyst of the thyroid gland.
Speaking about the reasons for their appearance, something is unequivocally quite difficult to say. In many cases, they are provoked by heredity, poor ecology, injuries.
Among the main reasons, presumably can be identified:
- thyroid disease (thyroiditis);
- nerve overstrain;
- malignant tumors;
- iodine deficiency;
- infectious processes;
- hormonal disorders;
- hyperplasia or dystrophy of gland follicles;
- congenital abnormalities.
Symptoms of thyroid cyst
If the cyst of the thyroid gland does not grow, it may not bother at all, but often the tumor grows, disrupting the functioning of the thyroid gland.
As the pathological process progresses, adjacent blood vessels and organs begin to contract, which is manifested by certain symptoms. These include:
- difficulty swallowing (dysphagia);
- tickling throat;
- dilation of the neck veins;
- feeling of a lump in the throat;
- painful discomfort in the area where the cyst is located;
- swollen lymph nodes;
- temperature increase (rarely);
- causeless headache;
- feeling of suffocation;
- visual change of the neckline.
It must be said that the symptoms do not have to be permanent. They can appear periodically, since it is common for a thyroid cyst to spontaneously disappear and also unexpectedly to occur. The signs that show cysts are largely dependent on the type of tumors and on their size.
Diagnosis of thyroid cyst
Thyroid cysts are diagnosed by the endocrinologist by palpation, but additional research is needed to determine localization and differentiation:
- 1) ultrasound. Allows to evaluate the structure of the cystic wall, determine the volume of fluid and the nature of the blood supply to the cyst.
- 2) Fine needle biopsy. Allows you to understand which cells are iron. During the procedure, they are selected for a cytological examination by a special syringe with a needle.
- 3) Magnetic resonance imaging.
- 4) Thyroid scintigraphy. This method of functional imaging does not give such a clear image as an MRI, but with it you can get very valuable information about the functional activity of the tissue.
- 5) Blood test for hormones (T3, T4, AT to TG, TSH).
- 6) Angiography. The method involves the study of vascular structures of the gland.
- 7) Pneumography is performed to identify possible metastasis and ingrowth in nearby tissues.
Additional diagnostic methods include laryngoscopy and bronchoscopy. Laryngoscopy is performed to assess the condition of the larynx and vocal cords in the event that cystic formation squeezes the neck. Bronchoscopy is a similar study, but the extent of tracheal lesion is evaluated here.
Treatment of thyroid cyst
If the cystic formation does not grow, then it does not pose any danger and requires only periodic passive observation by a specialist. A cyst of the thyroid gland is treated if it is enlarged, since its large size disrupts the functioning of the organ. Therapeutic actions can be both conservative and operational.
Nowadays, cysts are trying to be treated with low-impact methods to avoid additional complications. This includes such a modern method of treatment as sclerotherapy. Its essence is that, under ultrasound control, a cyst is punctured and alcohol is injected into the place of the evacuated liquid, which destroys the epithelium and glues the walls of the cavity. Sometimes the procedure needs to be repeated several times.
We must also dwell on another non-surgical method of treating a thyroid cyst. This is about laser coagulation, or local hyperthermia performed under local anesthesia.
Under the influence of a diode laser, the affected area is heated locally, which causes protein destruction and destruction of the tumor, in part or in full. This procedure, as well as the previous one, is carried out under ultrasound control, due to which nearby tissues and vessels are not damaged. Without operations, cysts up to 4 cm in diameter can be treated.
For cysts with small volumes, the use of hormonal thyroid preparations is permitted, but, nevertheless, doctors prefer in such cases to recommend iodine preparations and iodine-containing diet.
With frequent and rapid relapses after sclerotherapy, as well as with an impressive cyst size, surgical intervention is indicated. There are several types of radical treatment:
- hemistrumectomy when one lobe of the gland is removed;
- bilateral subtotal strumectomy (elimination of a part of the gland);
- removal of the whole gland with adipose tissue and lymph nodes that surround it (with malignant cysts).
Surgical treatment – more traumatic, with a painful effect, leaving behind cosmetic defects and a high risk of complications, a way to solve the problem, but sometimes it is the only possible one.
When the thyroid cyst is benign, the prognosis is usually favorable, but it is possible that the cyst may reappear.
If there is a malignant process, then everything depends on the presence of metastases, as well as on their number and localization. If there is no metastasis, the probability of a favorable outcome as a result of treatment is quite high.
If metastases were found, then complete removal of the gland together with the lymph nodes is indicated. Very often, patients after such radical treatment cannot speak, because it is usually impossible to prevent damage to the vocal cords.
Prevention of thyroid cyst
Prevention of the thyroid gland depends primarily on socio-economic factors, and it should be carried out at the state level.
To reduce the risk of pathology can be, adhering to certain rules:
- it is necessary to monitor the daily intake of iodine salts in the body, taking into account physiological norms;
- minimize exposure to sunlight during the summer period;
- do not overcool or overheat;
- control hormones;
- eat safe, easily digestible and iodine-containing products (shrimps, walnuts, sea kale);
- once in six months to consult an endocrinologist;
- undergo ultrasound;
- timely identify and treat thyroid disease;
- need to keep track of weight;
- avoid traumatic situations;
- radiation in the neck;
- inflammatory diseases;
- excessive loads in sports (especially women);
- do not self-medicate.
Without the thyroid gland, the body cannot fully function, as it participates in many processes occurring in it. Therefore, these preventive measures are very important in preventing the development of not only cysts, but also many other diseases of this organ. This is especially true in connection with the rapidly deteriorating environmental situation.
Which doctor to contact for treatment?
If, after reading the article, you assume that you have symptoms characteristic of this disease, then you should consult an endocrinologist for advice.