Blunt Injury to the Thyroid Gland: Proposed Classification and Treatment Algorithm

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Traumatic hemorrhage of the thyroid gland is a rare injury with few published case reports. Surgical and nonsurgical management have been advocated but there is no consensus of opinion.


This study is a retrospective review of published case reports including two own cases. A classification and an algorithm for diagnosis and treatment of thyroid gland injuries is proposed.


A literature review reveals 16 case reports. Of these, 11 patients underwent neck exploration for control of hemorrhage and resection of the associated thyroid abnormality while 5 patients were conservatively managed. Of note is the fact that 10 of the 16 patients (63%) had pre-existing thyroid disease. These 10 patients constituted (91%) of the group requiring surgical treatment.


Our proposed classification and algorithm offers management guidelines for this rather rare injury. Conservative treatment may be successful in selected patients with lower grade injuries and without concomitant thyroid disease.

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