Revision 17 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:

Radiographic features


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 have between 0.494-0.554 have also been proposed 6

History and etymology

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

Differential diagnosis

See main article: midline neck mass

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