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Ultrasound of the thyroid gland in the newborn: normative data
  1. R J Perry1,
  2. A S Hollman2,
  3. A M Wood3,
  4. M D C Donaldson1
  1. 1Department of Child Health, Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Yorkhill, Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
  2. 2Department of Radiology, Royal Hospital for Sick Children
  3. 3Department of Research and Development, Royal Hospital for Sick Children
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr Perry, Department of Child Health, Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Yorkhill, Glasgow G3 8SJ, Scotland, UK;


Objective: To establish reference ranges for thyroid length, breadth, depth, and volume in healthy term Scottish infants.

Design: Prospective observational study of 100 (49 male) neonates. Length, breadth, and depth were measured, and the volume of each lobe was calculated using the formula for a prolate ellipsoid (volume = length × breadth × depth × π/6).

Results: All measurements showed gaussian distribution, with no significant differences between the right and the left lobes. Values (mean (SD) range) were: length (cm), 1.94 (0.24) 0.9–2.5; breadth (cm), 0.88 (0.16) 0.5–1.4; depth (cm), 0.96 (0.17) 0.6–2.0; volume (ml), 0.81 (0.24) 0.3–1.7; combined volume (ml), 1.62 (0.41) 0.7–3.3. Although there was no difference in mean volume between right and left lobes, there was considerable variation (−0.8 to + 0.7 ml) between the two lobes in individual babies.

Conclusions: Both lobes should be measured to give a combined volume. Our findings provide a reference against which thyroid hypoplasia or goitre can be evaluated.

  • thyroid volume
  • ultrasonography

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