In this article, the authors will discuss a modified anatomy-based neck and thyroid examination that allows for a more comprehensive evaluation. It is the opinion of the authors that an organ and its function are best evaluated utilizing the following steps: anatomy-based inspection and palpation, imaging, and blood tests. Approximately half of the lateral part of the thyroid is deep to the sternocleidomastoid (SCM) and sternothyroid muscles, which makes it rather difficult to palpate the entire gland utilizing prior physical examination techniques. The goal of this modified anatomy-based thyroid examination is to minimize the number of structures between the physician’s fingers and the patient’s thyroid by utilizing neck flexion, side bending, and rotation. If one approaches the thyroid from behind the patient, nodules can be missed due to the muscles and transverse processes overlaying them. The incidence of thyroid cancer in the United States is drastically increasing, which demonstrates the importance of a more thorough thyroid palpation. Our anatomy-based approach may allow for earlier detection and therefore earlier treatment.
Public Health and Primary CareCLINICAL PRACTICE
J Osteopath Med; 123(5): 269-272