Congenital Thyroid Anomalies and Thyroid Diseases in Children



The thyroid gland affects the development of a child at any age. A change in gland volume accompanies almost all thyroid pathologies in children. Inspection and palpation fail to assess the thyroid volume correctly in about 35% of cases. WHO proposed the international reference values for goiter screening presented as a function of age, sex, and body surface area. Congenital anomalies of the thyroid occur in <0.3–0.5% of the population. Thyroid size anomalies include aplasia (agenesis), hemiagenesis, and hypoplasia. Thyroid dystopia and ectopia are sonographically characterized by an absence of thyroid tissue at its typical location. Midline cysts of the neck are similar to dystopia in their pathogenesis. Failed obliteration of the thyroglossal duct during fetal thyroid migration results in the formation of an epithelial cavity with subsequent fluid accumulation. Diffuse thyroid diseases in children include pathologic processes characterized by hypertrophy and/or hyperplasia of glandular tissue with thyroid enlargement or by its atrophy with a decrease in thyroid size. The incidence of thyroid nodules in children does not exceed 0.5–2%. More than half of the nodules are detected with US screening, and they are more prevalent in elder children. Specific pitfall in diagnosis of thyroid nodules in children is aberrant thymic tissue within the thyroid gland that may be mistaken for thyroid nodule. Thyroid cancer is more aggressive in children than in adults. Papillary cancer dominates among all thyroid malignancies in children.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Visual and Functional DiagnosticsNational Research Center for Obstetrics, Gynecology and Perinatology, Ministry of Healthcare of the Russian FederationMoscowRussia
  2. 2.Department of Ultrasound DiagnosticsKazan State Medical Academy – Branch Campus of the Federal State Budget Educational Institution of Further Professional Education, “Russian Medical Academy of Continuing Professional Education” of the Ministry of Healthcare of the Russian FederationKazanRussia

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