Zuckerkandl tubercle

Zuckerkandl tubercle is a normal variant of the thyroid and may be mistaken for a thyroid nodule, mass or lymph node. It is a projection of normal thyroid tissue from the posterior aspect of the lateral lobes of the thyroid gland. 

The tubercle is also an important surgical landmark due to its close proximity to the recurrent laryngeal nerve and superior parathyroid gland. Recognition of this feature of the thyroid gland at CT imaging can obviate the need for biopsy and avoid potential recurrent laryngeal nerve injury. However, it should be noted that disease (e.g. thyroid cancer) can still occur within this normal variant. 

History and etymology

Named after Emil Zuckerkandl (1849-1910) 5, Professor of Anatomy at the University of Vienna, who described it in 1902. 

Head and neck anatomy
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Article information

rID: 27555
System: Head & Neck
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Zuckerkandl's tubercle

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Cases and figures

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    Figure 1: illustration
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    Case 1: goitre involving Zuckerkandl tubercle
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