What is included in the management of the neck in patients with thyroid cancer?

Updated: May 14, 2020
  • Author: Pramod K Sharma, MD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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The neck must be thoroughly examined for lymphatic metastases. Ultrasonography of the neck with particular attention to the central compartment (level 6) is an effective diagnostic approach. FNAB of suspicious lymph nodes can be performed. Cervical metastases discovered preoperatively or intraoperatively should be removed by means of en bloc lymphatic dissection of the respective cervical compartment (selective neck dissection) while sparing the nonlymphatic structures. Excision of single nodes, known as berry picking, is inadequate therapy for metastatic disease. Elective neck dissection (removal of clinically benign neck lymphatic tissue) in a well-differentiated carcinoma is not indicated because postoperative radioiodine treatment effectively treats microscopic lymphatic metastases.

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