World Journal of Surgery

, Volume 26, Issue 8, pp 1013–1016

Complications of Neck Dissection for Thyroid Cancer

  • W. Keat Cheah
  • Cumhur Arici
  • Philip H.G. Ituarte
  • Allan E. Siperstein
  • Quan-Yang Duh
  • Orlo H. Clark

rophylactic and therapeutic neck dissections are used to control or eliminate local nodal disease in patients with thyroid cancer. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the results and complications of neck dissection. From 1992 to 1999 a series of 115 consecutive neck dissections were performed in 74 patients (32 men, 42 women; mean age 48 years) with thyroid cancer and nodal metastases. Operations included central compartment, lateral modified, and suprahyoid dissection with and without total or completion thyroidectomy. Sixty-four percent of the patients had papillary, 4% follicular, and 32% medullary thyroid cancer. Complications included transient hypocalcemia (23%) defined by a postoperative serum calcium level of <2.0 mmol/L (8.0 mg/dl), one neck hematoma (0.9%), and one cardiac death (0.9%). There were no permanent recurrent nerve palsies. Hypocalcemia occurred more frequently when neck dissection was combined with total thyroidectomy than without it (p <0.005). In this group, the incidence of hypocalcemia was higher after central, than lateral, neck dissection. When neck dissection was performed without thyroidectomy, there was no difference in the rates of hypocalcemia between central, lateral, or central with lateral neck dissection (p = NS). Hypocalcemia did not increase with repeated neck dissectionsp = NS). Permanent hypoparathyroidism occurred in 0.9%. There were no complications after suprahyoid dissection. The median duration of hospitalization was 1 day. Therapeutic neck dissection or repeated neck dissection can be performed relatively safely in patients with thyroid cancer. Hypocalcemia occurs most frequently when neck dissection is combined with total thyroidectomy.

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Copyright information

© 2002 by the Société Internationale de Chiru rgie

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. Keat Cheah
    • 1
  • Cumhur Arici
    • 1
  • Philip H.G. Ituarte
    • 1
  • Allan E. Siperstein
    • 2
  • Quan-Yang Duh
    • 3
  • Orlo H. Clark
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Surgery, University of California, San Francisco/Mt. Zion Medical Center, 1600 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, California 94143-1674, USAUSA
  2. 2.Department of General Surgery, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, 9500 Euclid Avenue, Desk A80, Cleveland, Ohio 44195, USAUSA
  3. 3.Department of Surgery, University of California, San Francisco/Veterans Administration Medical Center, 4150 Clement Street, 112C, San Francisco, California 94121, USAUSA

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