Revision 13 for 'Goiter'

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Goiter refers to enlargement of the thyroid gland. It can occur from multiple conditions.

The definition of a goiter 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 goiter varies widely depending on the level of iodine deficiency. In severely iodine deficient areas the prevalence may be as a high as 80%. Goiter 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 goiter.


The cause of goiter is diverse 2,3:

History and etymology

The word "goitre" derives from the old French goitron ‘gullet’, based on Latin guttur ‘throat’.

Differential diagnosis

See main article: midline neck mass.

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