The role of carbon nanoparticle in lymph node detection and parathyroid gland protection during thyroidectomy for non-anaplastic thyroid carcinoma- a meta-analysis

PLoS One. 2020 Nov 10;15(11):e0223627. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0223627. eCollection 2020.


Objective: To assess the efficiency of the carbon nanoparticles (CNs) in lymph node identification and parathyroid gland (PG) protection during thyroidectomy for non-anaplastic thyroid carcinoma (N-ATC).

Methods: A systematic literature search for relevant literatures published up to December 2018 in PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Science and Cochrane Library was performed. Both English and Chinese literatures were retrieved and analyzed. Randomized controlled trials or nonrandomized controlled trials comparing the use of CNs with the use of methylene blue or a blank control in patients undergoing thyroidectomy for N-ATC were enrolled in this study. The primary outcomes included the number of lymph nodes harvested, the rate of lymph nodes involved, and the rates of accidental parathyroidectomy, hypoparathyroidism, and hypocalcemia. Weighted mean differences (WMDs), odds ratios (ORs) and risk differences (RDs) were calculated for the dichotomous outcome variables. Between study heterogeneity was tested using the Q tests and the I2 statistics. All analyses were performed using Review Manager (version 5.3.5).

Results: 25 studies comprising 3266 patients were included in this analysis. The total number of lymph nodes harvested in the CNs groups was significantly higher than that in the control groups (WMD, 2.36; 95% CI, 1.40 to 3.32; P <0.01). Administrating CNs was associated with a lower incidence of accidental PG removal (OR = 0.28, 95% CI = 0.21 to 0.37, P<0.01) and lower rates of both postoperative transient hypoparathyroidism (OR = 0.46, 95% CI = 0.33 to 0.64, P <0.01) and transient hypocalcemia (OR = 0.46, 95% CI = 0.33 to 0.65, P <0.01). No significant difference was found concerning lymph node metastatic rates between CNs group and control group. Subgroup analysis indicated that the application of CNs in reoperation thyroidectomy reduced both the rate of transient hypoparathyroidism (OR = 0.21, 95% CI = 0.06 to 0.75, P = 0.02) and the possibility of accidental PGs removal (OR = 0.21, 95% CI = 0.07 to 0.62, P = 0.004, P<0.05).

Conclusions: The application of CNs in thyroidectomy for N-ATC results in higher number of lymph node harvested and better PG protection during both initial and reoperation thyroidectomy.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carbon / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Intraoperative Complications / prevention & control*
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology*
  • Nanoparticles / administration & dosage*
  • Nanoparticles / chemistry
  • Parathyroid Glands / injuries*
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / pathology
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Thyroidectomy / adverse effects*


  • Carbon

Grant support

Shaowei Xu Grant numberts: 2018A004 Shantou University Medical College Cancer Hospital The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.