BACKGROUND: Differentiated thyroid carcinomas (DTCs) are rare in young children but represent almost 10% of all malignancies diagnosed in older adolescents. METHODS: This article reviews the recent literature describing surgical therapeutic approaches to pediatric DTC, associated complications, and long-term recurrence and survival outcomes. RESULTS: Similar to adult thyroid cancers, pediatric DTCs are more common in females and are associated with thyroid nodules, family history of thyroid cancer, radiation exposure, iodine deficiency, autoimmune thyroid disease, and genetic syndromes. Management of thyroid cancers in children involves ultrasound imaging, fine needle aspiration, and surgical resection with treatment decisions based on clinical and radiological features, cytology and risk assessment. CONCLUSIONS: Total thyroidectomy and compartment based resection of clinically involved lymph node basins form the cornerstone of treatment of DTC. There is an evolving literature regarding the use of molecular genetics to inform treatment strategies and the use of targeted therapies to treat iodine refractory and surgically unresectable progressive disease. TYPE OF STUDY: Summary review. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: This is a review article of previously published Level 1-5 articles that includes expert opinion (Level 5).