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Open Access Research

Optimal surgical extent of lateral and central neck dissection for papillary thyroid carcinoma located in one lobe with clinical lateral lymph node metastasis

Hyo Sub Keum1, Yong Bae Ji1, Jong Min Kim1, Jin Hyeok Jeong1, Woong Hwan Choi2, You Hern Ahn2 and Kyung Tae1*

Author Affiliations

1 Departments of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, College of Medicine, Hanyang University, 222 Wangsimni-ro, Seongdong-gu, Seoul, 133-792, Korea

2 Department of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine, Hanyang University, 222 Wangsimni-ro, Seongdong-gu, Seoul, 133-792, Korea

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World Journal of Surgical Oncology 2012, 10:221  doi:10.1186/1477-7819-10-221

Published: 25 October 2012

Abstract

Background

The indications and extent of cervical lymph node dissection in papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) are still being debated. The aim of this study was to analyze the patterns of cervical lymph node metastasis in the lateral and central compartment and related factors and suggest the optimal extent of lateral and central neck dissection for PTC patients with clinical lateral lymph node metastasis.

Methods

We retrospectively analyzed 72 patients with unilateral PTC who underwent therapeutic lateral neck dissections with concomitant total thyroidectomy and central neck dissection between January 2001 and December 2009.

Results

The 72 patients underwent 79 sides of therapeutic lateral neck dissection. The most frequent metastatic level in the ipsilateral lateral compartment was level IV (75.0%), followed by level III (69.4%), level II (56.9%) and level V (20.8%). Multiple level metastases were common (77.8%) and were correlated with tumor size (≥ 10 mm). The central compartment lymph node metastasis rate was 87.5%, including 26.4% of contralateral central compartment metastases.

Conclusion

In PTC patients with clinical lateral lymph node metastasis, the optimal extent of lateral and central neck dissection should include levels II, III, IV and V as well as the bilateral central compartment.

Keywords:
Papillary thyroid carcinoma; Lateral neck dissection; Lymph node metastasis; Central neck dissection