Since its introduction in the '70s and '80s, CND for papillary cancer is here to stay. Compartment VI should always be explored during surgery for papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) for obvious lymph node metastases. These can be easily spotted by an experienced surgeon or, eventually, by frozen section. No doubt, obvious nodal disease in the Delphian, paratracheal and subithsmic areas should be dissected in a comprehensive manner (therapeutic central neck dissection), avoiding the selective removal of suspicious nodes. Available evidence for routine prophylactic CND is not completely satisfactory. Our group's opinion, however, is that it reduces or even eliminates the need for repeat surgery in the central neck, better defines the extent (and stage) of the disease and provides a further argument against routine radioiodine ablation. Thus, PTC is becoming more and more a surgical disease that can be cured by optimized surgery alone in the majority of cases. Prophylactic CND, however, involves a higher risk for the parathyroid function and should be skilfully performed, preferably only on the same side as the primary tumour and preserving the cervical portion of the thymus.