A condition in which the thyroid gland (located in the lower neck) or masses inside the gland grow downward into the upper chest is called substernal thyroid or substernal goiter. In many cases this growth can be slow, enlarging over a period of years and gradually pressing on structures such as the esophagus.
Signs and Symptoms of Substernal Thyroid
The symptoms of substernal thyroid may take awhile to appear, and could include:
- Difficulty breathing (dyspnea)
- Difficulty sleeping comfortably
- Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
Diagnosis and Treatment of Substernal Thyroid
Substernal thyroid is most often diagnosed with a CT scan. Because substernal thyroid can interfere with breathing and swallowing, surgical removal of the mass is critical to patients’ quality of life. Depending on factors such as the mass’s size and location, it could be removed through an incision in the neck (cervical) or less commonly through an incision over the sternum, which is then divided (median sternotomy).
Mount Sinai Experts Can Help
Patients with diseases of the thyroid and parathyroid come to the Mount Sinai Health System in New York City from all over the world. We provide comprehensive, state-of-the-art care based on the latest innovations in the field. Our surgeons are internationally recognized as experts who excel both in the academic arena and in their own clinical practices.