ABSTRACT Objective: To determine the histopathological correlation between central and lateral neck metastasis in differentiated thyroid carcinoma, and its potential therapeutic impact. Although the central neck dissection (CND) is recommended in differentiated thyroid carcinoma, the indication for lateral neck dissection (LND) remains controversial. Design: Retrospective study. Methods and Main Outcome Measures: Pathological analysis of systematic ipsilateral central neck dissection (CND) and LND performed with total thyroidectomy in differentiated thyroid carcinoma was retrospectively reviewed according to “side” and to “patient”. Results: A total of 56 sides (46 patients) were suitable for analysis. Analysis by “side” revealed that CND and LND dissection samples were both negative in 15 cases, both positive in 32, CND was positive and LND was negative for 8 cases and CND was negative and LND was positive in 1 case. The combined presence of positive LND and positive CND was therefore observed in 32/40 “sides” and 26/46 “patients”. Analysis by “side” of the impact of the treatment decision to perform ipsilateral LND only in patients with positive CND and vice versa demonstrated a sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of 97%, 65%, and 84%, respectively. Conclusions: In most cases, the presence of positive LND was associated with positive ipsilateral CND. The very low prevalence of positive LND in patients with negative CND may justify LND as a second step procedure only in patients with positive CND, except in the case of documented lateral neck metastasis.
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