Ultrasonography-based reference values for the cross-sectional area of the thyroid gland in children and adolescents: The Fukushima Health Management Survey

Clin Pediatr Endocrinol. 2023;32(1):52-57. doi: 10.1297/cpe.2022-0057. Epub 2022 Oct 15.


We previously described the thyroid volume, which was calculated by measuring the thyroid width, thickness, and longitudinal length using ultrasonography, in children and adolescents. We have proposed a simplified method for quantitatively assessing the thyroid size, to overcome the inaccuracy and challenges in measuring the longitudinal length of the thyroid. Based on measurements of 317,847 (girls: 156,913, boys: 160,934) children and adolescents, we calculated sex-specific means and standard deviations of thyroid width and thickness, and of the cross-sectional area computed by multiplying them, for every age and 0.1 m2 of body surface area, after ensuring normal distribution with Box-Cox transformation. Multivariate regression analysis revealed that female sex, age, and body surface area were independently associated with areas of each thyroid lobe. Our novel method may be useful in quantitatively assessing the thyroid size, and appropriately diagnosing pathological conditions, such as hypoplasia, atrophy, and enlargement of the thyroid gland, in children and adolescents.

Keywords: area; child; health survey; thyroid volume; ultrasonography.