Thyroid Anatomy: the Basics

The thyroid gland is an organ shaped like a butterfly that can be found in our necks. More specifically, it’s inferior to the larynx–aka the voice box–and anterior to the trachea, which is also colloquially known as the windpipe. 

The thyroid’s medial region is known as the isthmus; on either side are its left and right lobes, which look like wings. The parathyroid glands are embedded within these lobes, and are mostly found on their posterior surfaces. For the most part, the thyroid’s tissue is made up of thyroid follicles, which are central cavities filled with colloids, or sticky fluids. The colloid is where the thyroid produces its hormones, and is gated by a wall of epithelial follicle cells. 

Though the thyroid’s anatomy seems quite simple, its function is important: it produces a set of hormones that are instrumental in metabolism, protein synthesis, and tissue growth as well as development when we’re children.