Thyroid Disorders in Children

Hypothyroidism, Hyperthyroidism, Thyroid Nodules, and Thyroid Cancer

Problems with the thyroid gland can affect your child’s energy level and growth, so it’s important to work with a team that specializes in treating children with thyroid disease. Duke Children’s offers a level of expertise and breadth of services you can’t find anywhere else in the region. Our pediatric endocrinologists work with pediatric nurses and specialists in radiology, surgery, childhood cancer, ophthalmology, and genetics to offer comprehensive care for pediatric thyroid disease.

Pediatric Thyroid Conditions We Treat

The thyroid gland produces hormones that affect your child’s growth and the way the body uses energy. We specialize in treating infants, children, and adolescents with thyroid conditions such as:

  • Hyperthyroidism, including Graves’ disease, when the thyroid gland is overactive and releases too much hormone into the blood
  • Hypothyroidism, when the thyroid gland is underactive and doesn't release enough hormone into the blood
  • Thyroiditis, including Hashimoto’s disease
  • Thyroid nodules, which are growths on the thyroid gland
  • Thyroid cancer, when thyroid nodules are cancerous, and children with a family history of thyroid cancer
  • Children with genetic conditions that increase the risk of thyroid cancer

Your child’s treatment will depend on their specific needs. Your care team will discuss all your child’s options to ensure you’re well-informed and part of the care-planning process.

Specialized Care for Children with Thyroid Disease

  • Your child’s care team is nationally recognized for excellent care. We’re ranked among the nation’s best hospitals for pediatric endocrinology care by U.S. News & World Report. That’s because we offer comprehensive care, delivered by a team that specializes in treating children. In addition to managing all forms of hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, our pediatric endocrine specialists and thyroid surgeons have developed a Duke Pediatric Thyroid Center that facilitates and coordinates care for all children with thyroid conditions (nodules, cancer) that require endocrine evaluation and thyroid surgery.
  • If your child needs surgery, you can depend on our expertise. Duke Children’s is one of only five children’s surgery centers in the country designated a top-level performer by the American College of Surgeons. The Level 1 designation recognizes our commitment to providing the safest and highest-quality surgical care for our young patients.
  • Our team approach ensures your child gets the care they need. Pediatric endocrinologists work with radiologists for imaging exams, such as ultrasound, to diagnose problems and plan treatment. If a blood test reveals your child’s condition is inherited, we bring in genetic specialists to discuss how it affects your family. If your child has Graves’ disease, which affects the eyes, an ophthalmologist will be part of the team. Likewise, if your child needs a biopsy or surgery, your endocrinologist will work with a pediatric surgeon to use the least-invasive technique possible.
  • We’re here to support you and your child. We make sure you understand your child’s condition and care plan so you can make informed decisions. Our social workers are here to offer support and assistance. Our child life specialists can ease your child’s concerns and help make treatment more comfortable for them. We’re focused on your family's needs and what we can do to help.
  • Your child has access to the latest treatments. Our pediatric endocrinologists are also researchers who are dedicated to improving care for children with thyroid conditions. That means your child has access to the latest treatments, including a noninvasive treatment using radioactive iodine to treat hyperthyroidism and thyroid cancer. You’ll find treatments at Duke Children’s that you can only find at major medical centers.
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