09. tbl. 91. árg. 2005


Lingual thyroid - case report: A woman with a tumor at the base of the tongue

Tungurótarskjaldkirtill (lingual thyroid)

Læknablaðið 2005; 91: 661-3

We report a case of lingual thyroid. A woman presented with a few years history of mild dysphagia, cough and uncomfortable breathing when going to sleep at night. Laryngostroboscopia showed a mass lesion at the base of the tongue. A CT scan and thyroid scanning revealed a bilobar mass of thyroid tissue, compatible with a lingual thyroid. No thyroid gland was found at its usual location. The woman was euthyroid and since her symptoms were mild she was treated with thyroxin and observation.

Lingual thyroid is a rare phenomenon caused by abnormal migration of thyroid cells during the first weeks of fetal life. Females are affected more often than males and although this condition is often asymptomatic, symptoms can occur, most often during puberty, pregnancy and menopause. On examination a mass is noted at the base of the tongue and the diagnosis is then confirmed with CT/MRI and thyroid scanning. Treatment can vary from observation to thyroxin medication, radioactive iodine and complicated surgical intervention, depending on the symptoms and the overall health of the patient.

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