Operative bed recurrence of thyroid cancer: Utility of a preoperative needle localization technique

Oliver S. Eng, Scott B. Grant, Jason Weissler, Mitchell Simon, Sudipta Roychowdhury, Tomer Davidov, Stanley Z. Trooskin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Surgical management of recurrent disease after total thyroidectomy and/or neck dissection for thyroid carcinoma remains a challenging clinical problem. Reoperation is associated with a significant increase in morbidity. Preoperative needle localization technique for non-palpable breast tumors has recently been extrapolated to head and neck surgery. We report on the use of preoperative ultrasound-guided needle localization for non-palpable recurrent operative bed disease as an intraoperative aid in resection. Methods: Patients with thyroid carcinoma were identified from a retrospective database at a tertiary care center from 2011-2014. Inclusion criteria were history of thyroidectomy and/or neck dissection, non-palpable recurrent disease in the resection bed on surveillance, and ultrasound-guided needle localization of recurrent disease before resection. Perioperative data and outcomes were analyzed. Results: Seventeen patients were identified using the inclusion criteria listed above. Median patient age was 46 years (53% male, 47% female). A total of 23 masses in the previous operative bed were needle-localized successfully with no major long-term sequelae from this technique. The recurrent laryngeal nerve was involved with tumor in six patients. Two patients, in whom the tumor surrounded the nerve circumferentially, experienced recurrent laryngeal nerve injuries. No patients experienced postoperative hypocalcemia. With a routine surveillance and a median follow-up of 558 days, sixteen of the patients remain with no evidence of disease. Conclusions: Preoperative ultrasound-guided needle localization of non-palpable recurrent operative bed disease after thyroidectomy and/or neck dissection is a potentially safe method to aid in resection and cure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)571-575
Number of pages5
JournalGland Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery


  • Needle localization
  • Recurrence
  • Technique
  • Thyroid cancer

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