Redefining classification of central neck dissection in differentiated thyroid cancer



Therapeutic central neck dissection for differentiated thyroid cancer is recommended in the setting of clinically positive disease. The role of lymphadenectomy in patients with clinically negative disease is a matter of controversy and therefore extent of surgery varies. The boundaries of the central neck are variably described, as are the components of a central neck dissection. Patients with aggressive disease are managed with a comprehensive dissection, yet there is no classification system to distinguish this from a less rigorous operation. Therefore, there is variability in reporting and difficulty in the interpretation of results in the published literature. Here we propose a novel classification system for central neck dissection in thyroid cancer that allows accurate reporting of extent of surgery. The objectives are to reduce ambivalence and allow documentation of extent of lymphadenectomy, such that comparisons can be made between the varied strategies in the management of the central compartment. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck 36: 286–290, 2014