Langenbeck's Archives of Surgery

, Volume 399, Issue 2, pp 155–163

Prophylactic central neck disection in papillary thyroid cancer: a consensus report of the European Society of Endocrine Surgeons (ESES)

  • Juan J. Sancho
  • Thomas W. Jay Lennard
  • Ivan Paunovic
  • Frédéric Triponez
  • Antonio Sitges-Serra
Review Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00423-013-1152-8

Cite this article as:
Sancho, J.J., Lennard, T.W.J., Paunovic, I. et al. Langenbecks Arch Surg (2014) 399: 155. doi:10.1007/s00423-013-1152-8



There remains still no clear answer as to whether or not prophylactic central compartment neck dissection (pCCND) is indicated for the treatment of patients with papillary thyroid cancer.


The published studies, including single cohort, comparative studies and meta-analysis, were critically appraised. Aspects beyond postoperative complications and loco-regional recurrence rates in the analysis, as the impact of pre- and post-ablation thyroglobuline levels, multifocality, bilaterality and additional risk factors for recurrence, were also considered.


Thirty studies and five meta-analyses were assessed. The lack of randomized clinical trials on the subject and the heterogeneity of study populations are the main limiting factors to draw clear conclusions, and a comprehensive list of bias sources has been identified. Recent comparative studies and systematic reviews all associate the pCCND with higher proportions of temporary postoperative hypocalcemia but not with significantly higher permanent hypoparathyroidism, recurrent laryngeal nerve injury or permanent vocal cord paralysis. The risk of recurrence appears to be reduced after pCCND, and the number of patients needed to treat to avoid a recurrence is between 20 and 31.


It is suggested that routine level 6 prophylactic dissections should be risk-stratified. Larger tumours (T3, T4), patients aged 45 years and older or 15 years and younger, male patients, patients with bilateral or multifocal tumours, and patients with known involved lateral lymph nodes could all be candidates for routine unilateral level 6 dissection. The operation should be limited to surgeons who have the available expertise and experience


Thyroid Papillary cancer Central compartment neck dissection Lymph node metastases Level VI Prophylactic dissection 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juan J. Sancho
    • 1
    • 5
  • Thomas W. Jay Lennard
    • 2
  • Ivan Paunovic
    • 3
  • Frédéric Triponez
    • 4
  • Antonio Sitges-Serra
    • 1
  1. 1.Endocrine Surgery Unit, Department of Surgery, Hospital Universitari del MarUniversitat Autònoma de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.University of NewcastleNewcastle upon TyneUK
  3. 3.Centre for Endocrine Surgery, Clinical Centre of SerbiaUniversity of BelgradeBelgradeSerbia
  4. 4.Thoracic and Endocrine SurgeryUniversity Hospitals of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland
  5. 5.Unitat de Cirurgia Endocrina, Servei de Cirurgia General i DigestivaHospital Universitari del MarBarcelonaSpain

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