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20874021 tn?1556489645

Do you have to have a thyroid to have a substernal thyroid?

I was just diagnosed with substernal thyroid.. what got me puzzled ,is that I had surgery on the complete removal of my thyroid 6 years ago. So I'm wondering if I have a thyroid,when I shouldn't..
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Avatar universal
Nikkole228,

I just looked this up because I was curious - I thought total thyroidectomy usually removed any substernal goiter.  Apparently it is very rare, but people may have  ectopic thyroid tissue in their chest (I'm seeing this referred to as mediastinal goiter), meaning when the thyroid was developing in the fetus, some thyroid tissue developed in a location away from (and unattached to) the thyroid gland.  Substernal thyroid after total thyroidectomy can also occur following an "incomplete removal of a plunging goiter".

Here's a case study article about two patients who had this:

Int J Surg Case Rep. 2013; 4(3): 269–271.
Published online 2012 Dec 7. doi: 10.1016/j.ijscr.2012.11.014
PMCID: PMC3604653
PMID: 23336990
The “forgotten” goiter after total thyroidectomy
Alper Sahbaz, Nihat Aksakal, Beyza Ozcinar, Feyyaz Onuray, Kasim Caglayan, and Yesim Erbil⁎

"We report two cases with forgotten goiter. One underwent total thyroidectomy due to thyroid papillary cancer and TSH level was in normal range one month after surgery. The thyroid scintigraphy scan revealed mediastinal thyroid mass. The second case underwent total thyroidectomy due to Graves’ disease and TSH level was low after surgery. At postoperative seventh year, patients were admitted to our Endocrinology Division due to persistent hyperthyroidism and CT scan revealed forgotten thyroid at mediastinum. "

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Ty Sarah.  It confused me I was diagnosed Friday with this condition.  I have to have surgery again,  for something I thought I got rid of 6 yrs ago.. an the most scary part is it has to b removed from my chest.. ty for your response..
Ugh... I'm sorry to hear you need another surgery for this , especially for something that should be gone.
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