Effects of Central Neck Dissection on Complications in Differentiated Thyroid Cancer

Sisli Etfal Hastan Tip Bul. 2021 Sep 24;55(3):310-317. doi: 10.14744/SEMB.2021.80588. eCollection 2021.


Objective: It is still controversial whether performing central neck dissection (CND) in addition to total thyroidectomy (TT) increases the risk of complications. In the present study, we aimed to evaluate the effect of CND on the development of complications in differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) compared to TT.

Material and methods: The data of 186 patients (136 females and 50 males) with a mean age of 48.73±14.78 (range, 17-82) whom were operated for DTC were evaluated retrospectively. The patients were divided into two groups; TT (Group 1) and CND±TT/Completion thyroidectomy±lateral neck dissection (Group 2).

Results: There were 117 (91 F, 26 M) patients in Group 1 and 69 (45 F, 24 M) patients in Group 2. Parathyroid auto transplantation (PA) was significantly higher in Group 2 compared to Group 1 (42% vs. 6%) (p=0.000). Total (58% vs. 21.4%, respectively; p=0.000) and transient hypoparathyroidism (52.2% vs. 20.5%, respectively; p=0.000) were significantly higher in Group 2 than in Group 1, but permanent hypoparathyroidism rates were statistically not significant (5.8% vs. 0.9%, respectively; p=0.064). In the multinomial logistic regression analysis, CND alone was determined as an independent risk factor for increased both total and transient hypoparathyroidism. The relative risk (RR) of CND for total hypoparathyroidism was 5.2 times increased (odds ratio [OR]: 0.192) (p=0.007), while the RR for transient hypoparathyroidism was 3.5 times increased (OR: 0.285) (p=0.036). According to the number of nerves at risk, CND was performed in 119 neck side and only thyroidectomy was performed in 253 neck side. Total vocal cord paralysis (VCP) rate (9 [7.6%] vs. 6 [2.4%], respectively) (p=0.017) and transient VCP rate (7 [6%] vs. 4 [1.6%], respectively) (p=0.021) in patients who underwent CND were significantly higher compared to those who underwent only thyroidectomy. In multinomial logistic regression analysis performing only CND was an independent risk factor for total VCP, and increased the total VCP RR approximately 5.34 times (OR:0.184; p=0.007).

Conclusion: Although CND can be applied without increasing the rates of permanent hypoparathyroidism and VCP compared to TT, it increases the risk of total and transient hypoparathyroidism, total, and transient VCP. Patients undergoing CND should be followed carefully in terms of transient hypoparathyroidism.

Keywords: Central neck dissection; complications; thyroid cancer.