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Head Neck. 2007 Mar;29(3):258-66.

Transoral resection of thyroid cancer metastasis to lateral retropharyngeal nodes.

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  • 1Department of Head & Neck Surgery, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.



Lymph node metastasis from differentiated thyroid carcinoma may occur outside of the basins at greatest risk of spread, such as the lateral retropharyngeal lymph nodes. The extensive surgery of traditional approaches to the retropharyngeal space are rarely justified in the treatment of metastatic differentiated thyroid cancer. Therefore, a less invasive surgical approach is advantageous in resection of metastatic lateral retropharyngeal nodes.


To assess feasibility and safety, we report transoral excision guided by preoperative ultrasonography in a series of 3 consecutive patients with differentiated thyroid cancer metastatic to the retropharyngeal space.


In all cases, the metastatic lateral retropharyngeal lymph node was successfully removed by transoral retropharyngotomy without complications.


We advocate a transoral approach guided by preoperative ultrasonography for resection of differentiated thyroid cancer metastatic to the retropharyngeal lymph nodes. The approach is feasible, minimally invasive, and safe in achieving the goals in management of regionally metastatic disease.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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