The literature is full of classifications of goiter, each one differing from the other and all based on various pathologic, physiologic and clinical manifestations. All of the classifications have merit, but that none of them are sufficient is evidenced by the fact that the number is ever increasing. At the goiter clinic of the University of Oregon Medical School, we have been trying to simplify the classification in order to have one that the students can understand and use.
The classifications of the past have included all the lesions to which the thyroid gland is heir. There is no more reason for including all the lesions of the thyroid under the term goiter than all the lesions of the kidney under the term nephritis. The degenerations of the thyroid are usually secondary to some type of goiter and are not primary types. Cystic goiter, for example, is usually an adenoma