The Difference Between Hot and Cold Thyroid Nodules

by | Jun 27, 2024

Understand the critical differences between hot and cold thyroid nodules, including their causes, symptoms, and treatment options. Dr. Manish Taneja, our thyroid nodules specialist, provides personalized care, advanced diagnostics, and cutting-edge treatments to ensure optimal thyroid health with comprehensive services offered at our specialized thyroid nodules clinic in Singapore.

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Introduction to Hot and Cold Thyroid Nodules 

While many thyroid nodules are harmless, a small percentage can lead to significant health concerns and require urgent treatment. For this reason, understanding the differences between the various types of thyroid nodules is an important step in understanding what your next steps should look like if you develop hot or cold thyroid nodules. Here are some of the most important things to know about what hot and cold thyroid nodules are, what makes them different, and what to expect if you are diagnosed with one of these conditions.


Hot Thyroid Nodules 

Hot thyroid nodules tend to be a more significant concern than cold thyroid nodules because they produce excess thyroid hormones. This hormone imbalance can lead to hyperthyroidism and other regulatory problems. Individuals that develop hyperthyroidism are likely to experience more significant symptoms than individuals with cold thyroid nodules, including:

  • Anxiety and agitation
  • Restlessness and sweating
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Tremors
  • Irregular or increased heart rate and heart failure

While most of these symptoms are initially more irritating than life-threatening, the possibility of developing heart failure means that treating hot thyroid nodules is often more urgent than treating cold thyroid nodules.

Hot thyroid nodules are diagnosed by using a thyroid ultrasound scan and various blood tests that evaluate thyroid function.


Cold Thyroid Nodules

Cold thyroid nodules are naturally less problematic than hot thyroid nodules because these lumps are generally unable to produce excess thyroid hormones, which means that many cold thyroid nodules produce no symptoms. For this reason, they are unlikely to be noticed unless they grow large enough to be seen and felt. A large percentage of cold thyroid nodules never reach this point because they stay small enough to only be detectable through various imaging tests, especially among younger patients. While over half of individuals develop cold thyroid nodules by approximately age 60, only about 4-7 percent of these nodules are large enough to be noticeable without imaging. Most thyroid nodules are classified as cold.

While many cold thyroid nodules produce no symptoms, larger cold nodules do have the potential to cause breathing or swallowing problems, pressure, or other concerns if their size and location allows them to interfere with the functionality of various parts of the neck.

Cold thyroid nodules are diagnosed through various tests, such as:


Differences Between Hot and Cold Nodules 

Hot thyroid nodules are characterized by their ability to produce excess thyroid hormones, while cold nodules are unable to do so. This means that only hot thyroid nodules have the potential to lead to hyperthyroidism, which may require treatment to protect your heart and minimize other symptoms. While cold thyroid nodules frequently produce minimal or no symptoms, they are also somewhat more likely to be malignant than hot thyroid nodules. This means that your doctor may be more likely to recommend a biopsy or other test if cold thyroid nodules are detected, although you still may not need treatment if they are not found to be cancerous and are not causing any other problems.


Treatment Options for Thyroid Nodules

The specific thyroid nodule treatment options your doctor recommends are likely to depend on the specific type of nodules you have and whether they are causing any problems. Thyroid nodules that are not causing any pain or other symptoms are unlikely to require immediate treatment, and your doctor will likely recommend simply continuing to monitor them after verifying that they are not cancerous. Some of the most common treatment options you may have to choose from if your thyroid nodules are interfering with your life include:

  • Radiofrequency ablation, which uses heat to destroy the nodule
  • A thyroidectomy or other surgical procedure, which is usually only recommended if your nodules are cancerous or otherwise cannot be effectively managed in another way


When to Seek Medical Advice and Thyroid Nodules Treatment in Singapore

Many thyroid nodules are harmless and small enough that you will never notice them unless your doctor finds them while diagnosing something else. However, you should seek medical advice if your thyroid nodules are interfering with breathing or swallowing, painful, causing a rapid or irregular heart rate, or causing significant anxiety, irritability, or other mood changes that may be linked to elevated thyroid hormone production.


Choose Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic for Quality Hot and Cold Thyroid Nodules Care

At Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic, Dr. Manish Taneja, our thyroid nodules specialist, is here to help patients across Singapore understand what to expect if they are diagnosed with hot or cold thyroid nodules. Because these conditions can produce very different effects, having a strong understanding of the characteristics of the specific type of thyroid nodules you have been diagnosed with is an important step in making the best possible treatment decisions. Contact us today to learn more about what to expect if you think that you might have hot or cold thyroid nodules or to schedule an appointment.

Thyroid Nodule Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) Treatment

Radiofrequency ablation aims to give patients a non-surgical option for treating thyroid nodules. This procedure is a minimally invasive option that a surgeon can perform, should the preliminary tests determine that you would benefit from it.

The Advantages of RFA of Thyroid Nodules
The major advantages of the technique are as below.

  1. It is done as day surgery procedure under light sedation.
  2. It takes about 45 minutes to one hour to complete the entire procedure.
  3. Patients are discharged the same day.
  4. Normal thyroid tissue adjacent to the nodule is preserved.
  5. It does not affect thyroid function.
  6. Multiple nodules can be treated at same time.
  7. The treated nodules do not regrow again.
  8. No surgical scar with needle mark on the skin.
  9. Quick recovery and back to full activity and normal lifestyle.
  10. The technique is suitable to treat even large thyroid nodules.

Find out how thyroid nodule Radiofrequency Ablation can help you in a minimally invasive way on our blog post, “Thyroid Nodule Radiofrequency Ablation Treatment: Diagnosis,  Management, and Recovery.”

Find the Right Doctor

From family and internal medicine to specialist, Dr. Manish Taneja is the best in the field. As a vascular and interventional radiology specialist, Dr Manish Taneja looks after peripheral vascular disease, aneurysms, dialysis interventions, venous diseases like deep vein thrombosis, and varicose veins/spider veins/reticular veins. He is also competent in performing newer endovascular procedures such as uterine artery embolization, prostate artery embolization, genicular artery embolization, and erectile dysfunction interventions. Dr. Manish Taneja also has extensive experience in performing all vascular interventions, non-vascular interventions and interventional oncology procedures.

Read More About Vascular Treatments on Our Blog

To dive deeper into the types of vascular treatments such as thyroid nodule radiofrequency ablation, head over to our clinic’s blog.  Read our recommended vascular treatments related blog posts to stay informed.

Thyroid Nodule Resources

How to Keep Thyroid Healthy for Optimal Well-Being

As part of the endocrine system, the thyroid hormones must be perfectly balanced at all times for the body to function normally.

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Caring For Your Thyroid Health

Have you ever experienced difficulty swallowing or breathing? You may have risk factors including a family history of thyroid nodules or iodine deficiency. Thyroid nodules are abnormal lumps (growths) within the thyroid gland, a butterfly-shaped gland located below your voice box. Even if most thyroid nodules are benign, 10-15% of nodules are cancerous. Sometimes overgrowth of normal thyroid tissue can lead to hyperthyroidism. In other cases, multiple nodules can form in the thyroid called multinodular goiter. Fluid filled thyroid cysts can be one type of thyroid nodule within the thyroid. More complex nodules may lead to thyroid cancers. Depending on the root cause and type of nodule you have, patients can monitor with regular ultrasound or even have a thyroid fine needle aspiration biopsy (FNAC) if required. Surgery to remove partial or whole thyroid gland can be done but thanks to minimally invasive treatments such as Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA), this procedure can treat noncancerous and cancerous thyroid lumps.

Types of Thyroid Nodules and Cancer

Watch our video guide and find out more on our blog post, “Types of Thyroid Nodules and Cancer” with the types, causes, evaluation, biopsy, treatment options, and when to see a thyroid specialist. Find answers to questions on whether thyroid nodules are cancerous or not.

Arrange Your Appointment

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Other Health Conditions

The Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic is your “go-to” facility for various conditions and pain management. To arrange an appointment with Dr. Manish Taneja, our thyroid nodule specialist, contact us. You can also call us at (+65) 6904 8084 for a consultation.