Comprehensive Lateral Neck Dissection in Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma may Reduce Lateral Neck Recurrence Rates
To Identify predictors of recurrent disease following lateral neck dissection (LND) for papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC).
A retrospective review of patients who underwent first-time LND for PTC at our institution (2000–2015) was performed. Medical records were examined for biopsy or pathologically proven lateral neck recurrence. Differences between the groups with and without recurrence were compared. All LNDs were then classified in to two groups: “comprehensive” (CND), involving levels IIa-Vb at minimum, or “selective”, labelling less extensive dissection (SND).
Four hundred nine patients underwent 467 LNDs. Surveillance data were available for 317 patients who underwent 362 LNDs (mean age 45 ± 16; range 18–88). The median follow-up was 64 ± 48 months (range 3–197). Recurrence was detected in 71 lateral necks (20%). The total number of lymph nodes was greater in the group without recurrence compared to those with recurrence (23 vs. 19, p = 0.02). Among patient demographics, radioactive iodine treatment, primary tumor characteristics and characteristics of nodal metastases, only an older patient age (mean 50 vs. 43 years) was associated with lateral neck recurrence (p < .01). CND was performed in 102 lateral necks and SND in 143 necks. There were 12 recurrences recorded in the CND group (12%) vs. 31 in the SND group (22%, p = .04). The majority of recurrences (70%) involved levels included in the original dissection.
Younger patients, more extensive dissection and a higher total number of lymph nodes removed are associated with a lower incidence of lateral neck recurrence after LND for papillary thyroid carcinoma.