Blunt Trauma to the Thyroid: A Case Report

Weeks, Christine; Moore, Francis D.; Ferzoco, Stephen J.; Gates, Jonathan
June 2005
American Surgeon;Jun2005, Vol. 71 Issue 6, p518
Academic Journal
Thyroid injury is a rare phenomenon in cases of blunt neck trauma. Symptoms are often subtle or not present on initial exam and can be rapidly life-threatening when airway compromise ensues. We describe the case of a 50-year-old woman who developed neck pain and swelling, dysphagia, and hoarseness after a rear-end collision in which she was the restrained driver, hitting her anterior neck against the steering wheel. Neck CT revealed fragmentation and hematoma within the right thyroid lobe. Arteriogram showed no vascular injury to the neck. The patient was observed in the ICU and was discharged home 3 days later without operative intervention. We believe that in the acute setting, a stable traumatic thyroid hematoma without airway encroachment may be safely observed. Increasing size or compromise of airway integrity should be indications for early intubation and neck exploration.


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