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From Los Angeles Times (December 29, 1999 pg. A11)

Tipper Gore Has Surgery to Remove Thyroid Nodule

The vice president's wife recently underwent surgery at Johns Hopkins University Medical Center in Baltimore, MD, to remove a suspicious nodule in her thyroid gland. The nodule had apparently been discovered in previous months and the surgery was recommended as a precautionary measure.


The majority of thyroid nodules are benign. Thus, a cost-effective method that allows for rapid and accurate diagnosis while sparing the patient a major surgical procedure is valued. The management of thyroid nodules is multidisciplinary and can involve the general practitioner, surgeon, radiologist, and pathologist. The relatively superficial location of the thyroid gland allows it be ammenable to a rapid and accurate method of diagnosis known as the fine needle aspiration. The pathologist first palpates the gland identifying the nodule. Next, he aspirates the thyroid gland with a small needle, smears the aspirate onto a glass slide, applys appropriate stains, and studies the cells of the thyroid gland under a microscope. Depending upon the diagnosis, the pathologist may recommend further therapy such as a surgical excision.


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