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Minimally Invasive Treatment of Chyle Leak After Thyroidectomy and Cervical Lymph Node Dissection in Patients with Thyroid Carcinoma: Results of a Study Involving 36 Patients.

OBJECTIVE: Chyle leak (CL) after head and neck surgery is a rare but well-known complication. In patients with high-output leakage, the treatment can be complicated. This study aims to report on a recent innovation in lymphatic intervention for treating such patients.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A retrospective review of 36 patients with chyle leak after neck surgery for thyroid cancer was conducted to assess the efficacy of percutaneous lymphatic embolization and thoracic duct (TD) disruption.

RESULTS: Antegrade catheterization of the thoracic duct was achieved in 31 of 36 patients (86.1%). Therefore, embolization of the thoracic duct and thoracic duct branches was performed in 26 and 5 patients, respectively. In 5 cases of unsuccessful antegrade catheterization into the thoracic duct, transcervical access embolization was performed in 2 patients, and TD disruption (TDD) was performed in 3 patients. The pooled overall technical success rate of lymphatic embolization was 33/36 patients (91.7%). One patient who underwent thoracic duct embolization (TDE) with technical success (1/33 patients) but clinical failure had additional treatment directly sclerosing the TD under computed tomography scan. Cervical fluid collection sclerotherapy was done in 7 patients as an additional treatment. Resolution of the chyle leak after procedures was observed in all patients (100%). The mean time to resolution was 3 days (1-7 days). There was no complication intra and after procedures.

CONCLUSION: TDE, selective TD branches embolization and TDD are safe and effective minimally invasive treatments for CL post-surgery for thyroid carcinoma. Sclerosing cervical fluid collection contributes to clinical success.

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