Total thyroidectomy with therapeutic level II–IV neck dissection for papillary thyroid carcinoma: level VI recurrence patterns

Narin N. Carmel-Neiderman, Irit Duek, Dana Amsterdam, Anat Wengier, Boris Kuzmenko, Barak Ringel, Anton Warshavsky, Udi Shapira, Gilad Horowitz, Elena Izkhakov, Dan M. Fliss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Lateral and central compartments cervical lymph nodes metastases are common among patients with papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC). Elective level VI neck dissection during thyroidectomy and lateral neck dissection (LND) for the treatment of PTC with lateral compartment lymph node metastases is controversial because of the uncertain benefit in clinical outcomes and increased risks of surgical morbidity. We aimed to determine the potential benefit of elective level VI neck dissection in patients with cN1 papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) by investigating the rate and pattern of locoregional recurrence in PTC patients who underwent total thyroidectomy and therapeutic lateral node dissection (LND; levels II–IV) without elective level VI dissection. Methods: A retrospective cohort study. Data on demographics, clinical presentation and workup, intraoperative and pathological report, postoperative course, adjuvant therapy, recurrence patterns, and overall survival were retrieved from the medical charts of patients who underwent thyroid surgery in our hospital between January 2006 and December 2017. Results: A total of 1415 thyroidectomies were performed during the study period, of which 802 (56.67%) were for PTC. Of those PTC patients, 228 (28.42%) also underwent LND (levels II–VI) during the same thyroidectomy procedure. Thirty-four (14.91%) of those 228 patients, underwent total thyroidectomy with therapeutic lateral ND II–IV without elective level VI ND. During the follow-up period, five (14.7%) of the latter cohort were diagnosed with recurrence in central neck (level VI) lymph nodes, and four of them (11.7%) were diagnosed with ipsilateral recurrence at level VI. Conclusion: Our results revealed 11.7% rate of clinically significant recurrent disease in ipsilateral level VI which, in our opinion, does not justify routine prophylactic level VI ND dissection when the ipsilateral lateral neck is operated for metastases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3449-3455
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2020


  • Central compartment
  • Lymph node metastases
  • Neck dissection
  • Papillary thyroid carcinoma
  • Thyroid


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