Dr Daniel J Bell and Dr Henry Knipe et al.

Goitre (rarely thyromegaly) refers to enlargement of the thyroid gland. It can occur from multiple conditions.

The definition of a goitre depends on age and sex; below are the upper limits of normal for thyroid gland volume 1:

  • adult males: 25 mL
  • adult females: 18 mL
  • 13-14 years: 8-10 mL
  • 3-4 years: 3 mL
  • neonate: 0.8-1.5 mL

The prevalence of goitre varies widely depending on the level of iodine deficiency. In severely iodine-deficient areas the prevalence may be as a high as 80%. Goitre is more common in women (M:F = 1:4) and incidence declines with age 5.

The thyroid gland may become so enlarged that it becomes a substernal (retrosternal) goitre.

The causes of goitre are diverse 2,3:

Thyroid volume can be estimated by measuring each lobe and applying the following correction factor for an ellipsoid formula 6:

  • height (cm) x width (cm) x depth (cm) x 0.529*

* various correction factors between 0.494-0.554 have also been proposed 6

Goitre derives from the old French "goitron" meaning gullet. Goitron comes from the Latin "guttur" meaning throat.

See main article: midline neck mass

Share article

Article information

rID: 32226
System: Head & Neck
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Goiters
  • Goitres
  • Thyromegaly
  • Enlarged thyroid
  • Thyroid enlargement
  • Goiter
  • Thyroidomegaly

Support Radiopaedia and see fewer ads

Cases and figures

  • Drag
    Case 1: multinodular goitre
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Drag
    Case 2: nodular Graves' disease
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Drag
    Case 3: Hashimoto thyroiditis
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Drag
    Case 4: multinodular goitre
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Drag
    Case 5
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Drag
    Case 6
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Drag
    Case 7: retrosternal
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Drag
    Case 8
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Updating… Please wait.

    Alert accept

    Error Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

    Alert accept Thank you for updating your details.