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Need some advice

GraceLibby's picture
Posts: 88
Joined: Jul 2010

To make a long story short, I have a problem with lymph fluid (chyle) drainage in my neck. Over the past week; with a drain tube in my neck, a pressure dressing, and a modified diet, the fluid drainage output is almost zero - much to my ENT's surprise. Tuesday, he removed the drain but I still have the dressing and modified diet. I go in on Friday for a potential surgery.

If the chyle has collected in my neck again, I will have surgery to fix the path for the drainage. If the chyle has not collected, then maybe no surgery. I get the feeling that ENT will push for surgery to be on the safe side.

ENT says that if I wait and chyle becomes a problem during treatment, he would just admit me on the spot and do surgery that day. It would disrupt treatment. If I do surgery now, I will get about a week before treatment starts, meaning I get rads/chemo on fresh surgical site.

Question is: Do surgery now to be on the safe side or wait and go through treatment on the off chance that the chyle will not recollect and avoid another surgery/recovery?

Thanks in advance for the input.

ratface's picture
Posts: 1292
Joined: Aug 2009

Have you already had a neck disection and that is why your having a problem with the lymph drainage? I find it hard to believe that surgery can correct a lymph drainage problem. I don't think thats's possible, it usually causes the problem. My lymph still drains very slowly on the disection side and will probably do so for the rest of my life. Once the pathways are gone, they're gone, although new less efficient pathways can form. A weeks delay in treatment is no big deal, I wish I would have had some tooth extractions prior to my treatment but opted against it and am now experiencing tooth problems that could have been avoided. Rely on the ENT's experience if you are comfortable with him/her keeping in mind that surgeons like to practice their craft.

Hondo's picture
Posts: 6260
Joined: Apr 2009

I would get all the surgery’s out of the way then do treatment, but that is just my opinion. I too like ratface find it hard to think that surgery will correct the drainage problem but I guess that will be up to your ENT.

All the best to you.

Kimba1505's picture
Posts: 557
Joined: Apr 2010

Are you still draining from surgery? Or is this lymphodema? Mark had some swelling all through his radiation treatment from lymphodema and he could not address it until radiation was done and he could start PT, which is next week (7 weeks post treatment). All of his troubling side effects seem to be from his surgery in May (radical neck dissection).
Like Ratface said, the lymphatic fluid will have to learn another path, and will probably always need a little help to get where it needs to go since he lost all his nodes on the left side. He will always deal with swelling a stiffness to a certain degree.
I don't know if this helps,

Scambuster's picture
Posts: 973
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi Grace, you might want to post your Q on the Skin Cancer board as many Melanoma patients have substantial Lymph Node removal, many more than the average H & N patient so they have a good handle on Lymphatic drainage techniques.


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