Background: Tuberculosis (TB) lymphadenitis is a frequent cause of lymphadenopathy in areas in which TB is endemic. Cervical lymphadenopathy in TB can mimic lateral neck metastasis (LNM) from papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC). This study evaluated the clinicopathological features of patients with PTC and TB lateral neck lymphadenopathy. Methods: Of the 9098 thyroid cancer patients who underwent thyroid cancer surgery at the Thyroid Cancer Center of Gangnam Severance Hospital between January 2009 and April 2013, 28 had PTC and showed TB lymphadenopathy of the lateral neck node. The clinicopathological features of these 28 patients were evaluated. Results: Preoperatively, all 28 patients were diagnosed with PTC and showed cervical lymphadenopathy. All had radiological characteristics suspicious of metastasis in lateral neck nodes. Based upon the results from intraoperative frozen sections, lymph node dissection (LND) was not performed on 19 patients. Seven of eight patients who underwent LND had metastasis combined with tuberculous lymphadenopathy, with the remaining patient negative for LNM. Conclusions: Intraoperative sampling and frozen sectioning of lymph nodes suspicious of metastasis can help avoid unnecessary LND for tuberculous lymphadenopathy.
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