Hyperplasia is a term that most simply stated means overgrowth. When applied to the thyroid gland, enlargement of the entire gland, a region of the gland, or a nodule within the gland represent the main designations of thyroid hyperplasia.
Hyperplasia due to injury, infection, or in response to other inflammatory conditions are categorized as thyroiditis.
In some cases, the overgrowth of the thyroid tissue is functional, meaning that the hormone-producing cells within the tissue have an increased capacity to produce thyroid hormone. This increased production may be temporary and self-resolve without intervention and any symptoms associated with hyperthyroidism also resolve. Occasionally, these benign, or non-cancerous, tissues persist and require medical or surgical intervention. In such cases, the laboratory may be called upon to assess thyroid function in response to therapies.
Malignant hyperplasias of the thyroid are most commonly found to be thyroid carcinoma.
Benign and malignant hyperplasias of the thyroid will be discussed in further detail in the coming pages.