, Volume 20, Issue 7, pp 854-859

Improved Survival of Patients with Papillary Thyroid Cancer after Surgical Microdissection

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Abstract. A total of 195 patients had surgery for papillary thyroid cancer. The mean age at operation was 50 years. A microdissection technique was used for total thyroidectomy and lymph node clearance. Postoperative radioiodine tests showed no uptake or an uptake close to the background activity in 77% of the examined patients. By counting the lymph nodes removed at surgery we were able to check on the quality of the lymph node dissection. Men had a higher incidence (70%) of lymph node metastases than women (45%). Only 4% of the patients had radioiodine ablation of the thyroid remnant. The median follow-up time was 13 years. None of the patients below 45 years of age at surgery died of thyroid cancer. In the older age group eight patients died of thyroid cancer at a mean age of 75 years. Five of those who died of a thyroid carcinoma had distant metastases at diagnosis. Among patients with resectable disease, three (1.6%) died of thyroid cancer, all of whom had lived for more than 17 years after surgery. Hence longer follow-up is needed before we know the final mortality in our series. The results suggest that surgical technique and strategy can positively influence the survival of patients with papillary thyroid cancer.