Incidental metastatic papillary thyroid carcinoma in microvascular reconstruction.


Journal Article

OBJECTIVES/HYPOTHESIS: Occult papillary thyroid carcinoma has a reported prevalence of 1% to 35% based on autopsy studies. Cervical lymphatic metastases from papillary thyroid carcinoma have been associated with a higher likelihood of recurrence with a questionable impact on survival. Without clinically evident disease in the thyroid or cervical nodes, management of these patients presents a treatment dilemma. We propose an individualized treatment plan for patients in whom metastatic papillary thyroid carcinoma is incidentally detected during neck exploration for other purposes. STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective review and discussion of the literature. METHODS: The clinical course of two patients with incidentally discovered metastatic papillary thyroid carcinoma to the cervical lymph nodes is described. Both patients had previously received head and neck irradiation in childhood and required free flap reconstruction of extensive skull base defects following extirpation of meningiomas. RESULTS: Neck dissection specimens from levels I and II obtained during exposure of recipient vessels for microvascular tissue transfer revealed papillary thyroid carcinoma in both cases. The patients subsequently underwent total thyroidectomy, neck dissection, and postoperative radioactive iodine ablation of residual thyroid tissue. After 1 year of follow-up, both patients were without evidence of recurrent disease. CONCLUSIONS: An individualized approach is justified to treat metastatic papillary thyroid carcinoma incidentally discovered during other procedures. The case reports underscore the importance of pathological analysis of surgical specimens obtained during head and neck reconstruction.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Moore, BA; Duncan, IM; Burkey, BB; Day, T

Published Date

  • December 2002

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 112 / 12

Start / End Page

  • 2170 - 2177

PubMed ID

  • 12461335

Pubmed Central ID

  • 12461335

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0023-852X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1097/00005537-200212000-00008


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States