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

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

    89 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: 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. Methods: 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. Results: 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. Conclusions: 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 © 2013 Springer-Verlag.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)155-163
    JournalLangenbecks Archiv für Klinische Chirurgie
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


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


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