A mildly heterogeneous thyroid gland is one with slight abnormalities in its shape, unlike a homogeneous thyroid gland with a uniform shape, explains Dr. Jonathan Fay for Just Answer. It is often a sign of inflammation or thyroiditis, notes Dr. Bradford Mitchell for HealthTap.
There are three main types of thyroiditis that can cause a mild heterogeneity of the thyroid gland: Hashimoto's thyroiditis, De Quervain's thyroiditis and silent thyroiditis, according to Endocrine Web. Hashimoto's thyroiditis is more common and is caused by hypothyroidism, which is an underactive thyroid gland. The structural shape of the gland becomes enlarged due to its inability to convert iodine into thyroid hormone.
De Quervain's thyroiditis is the exact opposite and is induced by the hyperactivity of the thyroid gland. A thyroid gland afflicted by this disease becomes misshapen and swells up as it leaks unneeded thyroid hormone into the bloodstream, states Endocrine Web. Silent thyroiditis is less common and shows symptoms of both De Quervain's and Hashimoto's. It has much subtler symptoms and is less serious than the other two types of thyroiditis; it better reflects a mildly heterogeneous thyroid gland. With this disease, thyroid glands are only slightly enlarged and usually go untreated as patients tend to naturally recover from the illness after three months.