• Just the presence of enlarged lymph nodes does not mean thyroid cancer has spread and does not require additional surgery
  • A procedure called a modified radical neck dissection (or anterolateral neck dissection or comprehensive neck dissection), in untreated patients, should only be performed in instances of ultrasound with fine needle aspiration confirmed thyroid cancer spread to lymph nodes on the side of the neck
  • The thyroid cancer surgery for spread of cancer to lymph nodes of anterolateral neck is not the same modified radical neck dissection as for other cancers that occur in the neck. Thyroid cancer spreads to particular areas of the neck called levels. Removing just some of the lymph nodes has been called “cherry picking” and is the wrong surgery! A thyroid cancer surgery expert trained surgeon and experienced to perform modified radical neck dissections specifically for thyroid cancer is needed to prevent recurrent or persistent disease.
  • The modified radical neck dissection, in skilled hands, spares all critical nerves, muscles, and blood vessels which are not directly involved with cancer (very rarely are critical structures involved by thyroid cancers except the most advanced aggressive cancers [Unless you are above 50 years of age, you almost certainly do not have an aggressive cancer. Even if you are above 50 years of age, aggressive thyroid cancers are rare] ). It is an approximately 40 minute surgery that removes lymph nodes and fatty tissue.