The thyroid gland is located in the neck. It is wrapped around the front of the windpipe, just below the Adam's apple. It is often described as butterfly-shaped because it is made up of two wing-like lobes and a small connective band called the isthmus.
The thyroid secretes hormones that influence growth and development and regulate metabolism and body temperature. A normal thyroid cannot be felt, and doctors often palpate the neck to check for swelling of the thyroid. An enlarged thyroid, also known as goiter, can be a sign of either an overactive or underactive thyroid gland, both of which can lead to serious health problems.