• We analyzed the regional lymph node metastases of 98 patients with thyroid cancer who underwent bilateral modified neck dissection. Bilateral jugular lymph node metastases were frequent in patients with papillary carcinoma of the thyroid, especially in those patients with obvious carcinoma in both lobes of the gland, cancer arising in the isthmus, clinically detectable bilateral lymphadenopathy, and recurrent thyroid cancer. In patients whose cancer was clinically confined to one lobe, and where there were no obviously enlarged contralateral lymph nodes, the occurrence of contralateral jugular lymph node metastasis was significantly correlated with the contralateral paratracheal lymph node metastasis. The bilateral lymphadenectomy appears to be appropriate in these instances.
(Arch Surg. 1990;125:804-806)