Papillary Carcinoma of theThyroid Presenting Primarily as Cervical Lymphadenopathy : An approach to management

Norman O Machado, Pradeep J Chopra, Aisha Al Hamdani


Papillary carcinoma of thyroid usually presents as a palpable thyroid mass. This could be associated with pain, hoarseness, stridor or dysphagia. Rarely, it presents solely as cervical lympadenopthy in the presence of an otherwise grossly normal thyroid gland. This could pose management problems. We report here a middle-aged lady who presented with cervical lymphadenopathy which on fine needle aspiration cytology was confirmed as metastatic papillary thyroid carcinoma. The thyroid gland was, however, normal on clinical examination and radiological investigations. Neck exploration confirmed a grossly normal thyroid gland; however, the cervical lymph node was found to invade the internal jugular vein. She underwent a total thyroidectomy and unilateral functional block dissection with resection of the involved segment of the internal jugular vein. Histopathology confirmed metastasis in the lymph node and a 2mm sized microcarcinoma in the resected thyroid gland. A radioactive iodine scan in the postoperative period revealed no other metastasis. The patient was prescribed lifelong thyroxine. She is on regular follow-up and 4 years following surgery continues to do well.


Thyroidectomy; Carcinoma of thyroid; Lymphatic metastasis; Case report; Oman.

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Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, PO Box 35, Postal Code 123, Al-Khod, Muscat, Oman

ISSN (Print edition): 2075-051X ISSN (Internet edition): 2075-0528

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