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A bit of “simplified” anatomy..


The thyroid gland is located at the base of the neck, it has the shape of a butterfly whose 2 lobes are connected by a small band of gland called isthmus.

Each lobe usually measures approximately 4cm  high and the thickness of the gland varies between 2 and 3 cm.

The weight of a normal gland is 25 to 35 grams.

The thyroid gland is attached to the trachea (respiratory tube) which explains its mobility when swallowing.

On the deep side of the thyroid and often stuck to it we find the 4 parathyroid glands (the size of a grain of rice).

The thyroid gland is surrounded by blood vessels (arteries and veins) and lymphatic vessels.

The common  carotid artery is the largest and most valuable of the neck arteries (in red on the diagrams); it comes into contact with the lateral side of each of the lobes, which explains the frequency of discovery of thyroid nodules by cardiologists when performing Doppler ultrasound of the carotid arteries.

Along the lymphatic vessels there are lymph nodes, which function as filters; these lymph nodes will stop cancer cells and will increase in size when they are colonized by these cells (we then speak of lymphadenopathies ).

The removal of lymph nodes during an operation is called lymph node dissection (the lymphatic network and the nodes are represented in green in the diagrams below).

Behind the thyroid there are small nerves that control the movements of the vocal cords; because of their route these nerves are called recurrent nerves or inferior laryngeal nerves (the nerves are in yellow in the drawing opposite).

On the left side the nerve is closer to the thyroid gland and its identification more difficult in cases of large goiter.

Parathyroid glands anatomy
recurrent and gg anatomy.png
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