Thyroid Disease

Thyroid Disease

Hyperthyroidism, Hypothyroidism, Goiter

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Duke thyroid disease specialists specialize in diagnosing and treating the full range of benign thyroid disorders, including hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid like Graves' disease), hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) and postpartum hypothyroidism and goiter (large thyroid). We pinpoint the cause of your abnormal thyroid levels and determine the most effective treatment for you. Our goal is to personalize your treatment plan to your specific needs so you feel like yourself again.

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Treatments

Medication

We use the latest medications available to control your thyroid function. If you have hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid), your medication serves as a hormone replacement therapy. If you have hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid), your medication prevents your thyroid from producing too much thyroid hormone. Follow-up blood tests may be necessary to ensure your body is responding well to your medication and dose.

Radioactive Iodine

This treatment uses targeted radiation – ingested in pill or liquid form – to shrink or destroy thyroid tissues in patients with hyperthyroidism and Graves' disease. Our radiologists specialize in dosing radioactive iodine for people with thyroid disorders. Our experience ensures that the dose is adequately determined for your needs.

Surgery

Surgery by an experienced endocrine surgeon is a good option for treating thyroid disease, especially large goiters and Graves' disease. If you have serious symptoms associated with these conditions, such as difficulty swallowing, unexplained voice changes or pressure sensations in the neck when lying flat, surgery may be your first-line treatment. 

Partial Thyroidectomy (Thyroid Lobectomy)
Removes a portion of your thyroid, usually a thyroid lobe. Minimally access options are available.

Thyroidectomy
Removes your entire thyroid gland.

Parathyroidectomy
Removes one or more parathyroid gland. Minimal access options are available.

Our Locations
Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.

Tests

Your doctor may suspect thyroid disease if you experience some of the common symptoms, such as unexplained weight loss or gain, moodiness or depression, and fatigue. In many cases, abnormal thyroid levels may turn up when your doctor orders a blood test as part of a routine physical exam. Your doctor may order one of the following tests to confirm your diagnosis.

Thyroid Function Tests

Measures the amount of thyroid hormone in your blood, and can help diagnose functional disease, such as hypothyroidism (low levels of thyroid hormone) or hyperthyroidism (high levels of thyroid hormone). 

Thyroid Ultrasound

This non-invasive test uses sound waves to take pictures of organs and tissues inside your body. A thyroid ultrasound shows the thyroid gland’s size and shape. An enlarged thyroid with nodules or growths may indicate thyroid disease.  

Radioactive Iodine Uptake Test

A radioactive substance called a tracer is injected into your bloodstream. The test determines how much tracer your thyroid gland absorbs, which can tell your doctor how well it is working. 

Thyroid Scan

This scan also uses a radioactive tracer. A special camera takes 3-D pictures of your thyroid gland as it absorbs the tracer. The pictures help your doctor determine which parts of your thyroid are overactive or underactive.

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Why Choose Duke

Experts in Precise Dosing
Our team has the experience and advanced training to make sure we get your treatment dose right, whether it’s medication to control thyroid blood levels or
radioactive iodine treatments to shrink or destroy tissue in an overactive thyroid. Both of these treatment approaches require precise dosing, tailored to each patient’s needs.

Specialized Nuclear Medicine
If you have Graves' disease or hyperthyroidism, we may recommend radioactive iodine therapy to control your thyroid hormone levels. Our team includes highly trained radiologists who administer our
radioactive iodine treatments. Their experience working with proper dosing for thyroid patients means safe and effective results for you.

Leaders in Thyroid Surgery
Our surgeons handle more than 600 cases every year, making us one of the busiest endocrine surgery teams in North America. We have performed thousands of successful thyroid-specific surgical procedures using open and minimal access techniques. Our less invasive options lead to less pain, fewer complications, minimal scarring and shorter hospital stays.

Team Approach
Our endocrinologists work closely with other Duke specialists to manage and treat every aspect of your thyroid disease, to guide your care and manage your treatment plan. We work with endocrine surgeons, otolaryngologists (ear, nose, throat and neck specialists) and radiologists specially trained in nuclear medicine thyroid treatments.  

Patient Education
If your doctor prescribes hormone replacement therapy for hypothyroidism, we work closely with you to make sure you understand how your thyroid medication works. When and what you eat, what supplements you take and even what time you take your medication can impact its effectiveness. We give you step-by-step directions before you leave our office and closely follow how your body reacts to the medication so we can make adjustments.

Consistently Ranked Among the Nation’s Best Hospitals
In addition, Duke University Hospital is proud to be named the best hospital in North Carolina, and nationally ranked in 10 adult and 9 pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report for 2019–2020.