A lymphadenectomy is a surgery to remove lymph nodes. Also referred to as lymph node dissection, this procedure may be recommended when cancer is suspected to have spread (metastasized) from a tumor to one or more nearby lymph nodes. A lymphadenectomy is typically performed alongside surgery to remove cancerous growths.
The body’s lymphatic system is comprised of approximately 500 to 600 lymph nodes, which are small, bean-shaped structures that are connected by vessels and serve as filters for the immune system. They are present in clusters around the neck, underarms and groin area. When foreign invaders such as bacteria and viruses enter the body, lymph nodes trap them before they can continue to spread. Cancer cells can also enter lymph nodes, but because the immune system cannot destroy cancer on its own, the cancer cells remain in the nodes and continue to grow.
Lymphadenectomy for thyroid cancer
Lymph node dissection is a common treatment for many types of cancer. In cases of thyroid cancer, lymph nodes in the neck area are usually removed, most often those beneath and surrounding the thyroid gland in the central neck.
Lymphadenectomy surgery for thyroid cancer can include removing lymph nodes that contain cancer in addition to lymph nodes that are at risk of eventually becoming cancerous. Lymph nodes are usually excised during lobectomy surgery (removal of one thyroid lobe) or total thyroidectomy surgery (removal of the entire thyroid).
Our approach to lymphadenectomy surgery
The renowned head and neck surgeons in Moffitt Cancer Center’s Endocrine Oncology Program excel in performing lymphadenectomies, total thyroidectomies and other types of thyroid cancer surgery. Working collaboratively with a multispecialty team of thyroid cancer experts, our surgeons leverage advanced techniques to deliver the best possible outcomes and quality of life for patients.
If you would like to speak with a Moffitt physician regarding thyroid cancer surgery and what treatment options may be available to you, call us at 1-888-663-3488 or complete a new patient registration form online.