Approach and safety of comprehensive central compartment dissection in patients with recurrent papillary thyroid carcinoma

Gary L. Clayman, Thomas D. Shellenberger, Lawrence E. Ginsberg, Beth S. Edeiken, Adel K. El-Naggar, Rena V. Sellin, Steven G. Waguespack, Dianna B. Roberts, Anupam Mishra, Steven I. Sherman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Background. Despite the generally favorable prognosis of patients with papillary thyroid cancers, 10-year recurrence rates for patients with stage I to III disease is greater than 20%, with central compartment recurrences common among these recurrent sites. Methods. This study is a retrospective analysis of consecutive patients treated by a single surgeon over an 18-month period of time terminating in 2003. Results. Sixty-three patients underwent a comprehensive dissection of levels VI and VII for papillary thyroid carcinoma during this period. There was a female predominance of 2:1, with 48% of patients being greater than 45 years of age. The median number of lymph nodes identified was 16 (range, 3-52), with 7 (1-20) lymph nodes pathologically involved. Permanent hypoparathyroidism was present on presentation in 13% of patients and developed in an additional 5% following surgery. Although recurrent laryngeal paralysis was present on presentation among 8 (13%) of patients, no patients experienced paralysis of documented functioning recurrent laryngeal nerves or necessitated tracheotomy. Postoperative thyroglobulin levels were reduced to nondetectable in 71% of the informative cases. Over 60% of patients were discharged on their first postoperative day. Conclusion. Bilateral paratracheal and superior mediastinal dissection is an oncologically safe procedure exhibiting minimal morbidity when performed among experienced individuals despite multiple prior surgical procedures or existing vocal cord paralysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1152-1163
Number of pages12
JournalHead and Neck
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Approach
  • Central compartment
  • Metastatic
  • Papillary thyroid carcinoma
  • Recurrence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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