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J Korean Med Sci. 2008 Jun;23(3):548-50. doi: 10.3346/jkms.2008.23.3.548.

A case of an ectopic thyroid gland at the lateral neck masquerading as a metastatic papillary thyroid carcinoma.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Kosin University College of Medicine, Busan, Korea.


Ectopic thyroid glands generally occur in the midline as a result of abnormal median migration, and their presence lateral to the midline is rare. We present one case of an ectopic thyroid gland masquerading as a lateral neck metastasis of a papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC). In this case of a 54-yr-old woman with left PTC, we suspected left lateral neck metastasis on preoperative neck computed tomography. The patient underwent total thyroidectomy, central compartment neck dissection, and left modified radical neck dissection (MRND). The patient was diagnosed as having an accessory thyroid gland on the lateral neck on the final pathologic report. Surgeons should be aware of the existence of an ectopic thyroid gland in unusual locations.

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