Impact of prophylactic central neck dissection on oncologic outcomes of papillary thyroid carcinoma: a review

Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2015 Jul;272(7):1577-86. doi: 10.1007/s00405-014-3104-5. Epub 2014 Jun 11.


Prophylactic neck dissection (PND) for papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) is controversial. Our aim was to assess current levels of evidence (LE) according to the Oxford Centre for Evidence-based Medicine ( ) regarding the oncologic benefits of PND. Data were analyzed via MEDLINE keywords: PTC, differentiated thyroid carcinoma, PND, central lymph node metastases, central compartment, recurrence-free survival. There was conflicting evidence regarding the rate of reoperation for recurrence, with some studies showing a lower rate after PND with increased recurrence-free survival and a higher rate of undetectable pre- and post-ablation thyroglobulin levels (LE 4), whereas other studies did not show a difference (LE 4). Only one study (LE 4) showed improved disease-specific survival with PND. PND may improve recurrence-free survival, although this is supported by only a low LE. Current recommendations can only be based on low-level evidence.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma* / pathology
  • Carcinoma* / surgery
  • Carcinoma, Papillary* / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Papillary* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Neck Dissection / methods*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local* / prevention & control
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local* / surgery
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Prophylactic Surgical Procedures / methods
  • Reoperation
  • Thyroid Cancer, Papillary
  • Thyroid Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Thyroid Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Thyroidectomy / methods*