Clinical course of thyroid carcinoma after neck dissection

Laryngoscope. 2003 Dec;113(12):2102-7. doi: 10.1097/00005537-200312000-00008.


Objectives/hypothesis: The objective was to compare the rate and site of recurrences in patients with well-differentiated thyroid carcinoma who underwent a central compartment dissection, a posterolateral neck dissection, or a combination of both procedures.

Study design: Retrospective chart review.

Methods: The charts of 522 consecutive patients with well-differentiated thyroid carcinoma were reviewed, and 74 patients who had undergone a neck dissection were identified. The rates of recurrence in three sites were noted: the central compartment nodes (levels VI, superior mediastinum), posterolateral compartment neck nodes (levels II-V), and distant sites. These rates were compared in patients who underwent a central compartment dissection (level VI, superior mediastinum) and in patients who underwent a posterolateral neck dissection (levels II-V).

Results: Six patients underwent only a central compartment dissection, 47 patients had only a posterolateral neck dissection, and 21 patients had both a central compartment and a posterolateral neck dissection. In these three groups there were zero, two, and two central compartment node recurrences; two, nine, and seven posterolateral neck recurrences; and zero, two, and three distant recurrences, respectively. There were no significant differences in the rate of recurrence in any of the three sites examined between any of the three treatment groups (Fisher's Exact test, all P values >.20).

Conclusion: In patients with well-differentiated thyroid carcinoma, dissection of only the central or posterolateral compartments of the neck with clinical or radiographic evidence of disease is advocated.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma / surgery*
  • Carcinoma, Papillary / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck Dissection
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / surgery*