A neck dissection is typically performed in the setting of cancer which affects the lymph nodes in the neck. For example, a central compartment neck dissection may be performed in the setting of thyroid cancer.

It is absolutely necessary to perform a thorough neck dissection in the case of head and neck cancer. During surgery, it is sometimes difficult to determine whether lymph nodes are involved with cancer or not. We do know is that certain types of head and neck cancer like to spread to specific areas in the neck. It is extremely important to be able to perform a thorough and complete clearance of all the lymph nodes in that particular area of the neck in order to have the best chance at clearing the tumor. If you’re surgeon does not do these types of procedures often, there is a chance that tumor may be left behind during surgery. This can cause poor outcomes for all involved.