We have formulated a multidisciplinary consensus statement on the terminology and classification of central neck dissection for thyroid cancer. Central neck dissection at a minimum should consist of removal of the prelaryngeal, pretracheal, and paratracheal lymph nodes (either ipsilateral or bilateral). The description of a central neck dissection should include both the indication (therapeutic vs. prophylactic/elective) and the extent of the dissection (unilateral or bilateral). The use of these common definitions and descriptors will facilitate communication between health care providers and also foster a more uniform reporting of results in clinical studies.