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Chyle leak- Complication

jennie813
Posts: 3
Joined: May 2012

HI- i just wanted to post about my Thyroidectomy experience- Because it was rare and there was hardly any information out there for me. last April I had my thyroid removed do to a small cancerous tumor. I also had 80 lymph nodes removed- 8 were cancerous. At the age of 29 it was a pretty rough experience, especially because I was getting married 4 months after my surgery. The worst was after the surgery- the normal 2 night stay at the hospital turned into 7 nights due to a .05 chance of a Chyle Leak. When i finally did leave the hospital i had to have that bag hang off my neck for an additional 2.5 weeks. Just wanted to put it out there- if this happens to anyone- please feel free to ask me about my experience.

amorriso
Posts: 186
Joined: Oct 2010

First - I hope you are doing well. I have never heard of a Chyle leak...what is it?

Baldy's picture
Baldy
Posts: 225
Joined: Mar 2011

Hi amorriso,

I haven't been here in a while. Hope you're doing well.

Did you have a neck disection as well as a thyroidectomy? If so, the surgeon should have talked to you about the possibility of a chyle leak. The thoracic type can be caused when a neck disection removes lymph nodes near the thoracic duct in the neck. It's uncommon, but does happen. The problem is the stuff that leaks is full of nutrients and a person with the condition can become seriously malnurished and possibly dehydrated as well.

Alan

PS I need a better picture of the cat. Done.

amorriso
Posts: 186
Joined: Oct 2010

Ok - I did have a neck dissection, but I dont remember him mentioning that..though he could have. I made a good recovery with no complications so I guess it wasnt a factor.

Doing well now - had another good checkup - one year from my last RAI - fingers crossed it stays that way!

Oh - I like the cat!

Baldy's picture
Baldy
Posts: 225
Joined: Mar 2011

Now that I think about it, he didn't bring it up, I did.

It was on the release form I had to sign {along with 2 or 3 dozen other possible complications} before they would do the surgery. He handed it to me and I read through it and asked him what it was. I guess if you don't ask, they don't explain, even though they probably should. Just another example of being your own advocate and questioning everything.

I bet when he saw me start to read through the release form, he heaved an inward sigh and said to himself, "This is going to take longer than I'd like."

jennie813
Posts: 3
Joined: May 2012

Even though the Doctor - briefly discussed the chances of a leak - he said it was such a small chance- like .5%
I could not believe it happened to me- I had a drain for weaks- sewed to my neck- That scar is worse than the Thyroidectomy/neck disection scar.

NLMCEM
Posts: 52
Joined: Aug 2010

As part of your treatment, you are to follow a very low fat diet for 1 to 3 weeks
or as directed by your doctor. Your goal is to eat as little fat as possible and no
more than 20 grams of fat per day. Eat and drink only fat free or very low fat
foods and beverages. The small amount of fat allowed in your diet should not be
eaten in one serving. Try to spread the little fat in your diet out over the day.
If this diet helps your condition, your doctor will tell you when you can start to
add foods with fat back into your diet. If your condition does not improve, your
doctor will talk to you about other treatment options.
What is chyle?
Chyle is a milky fluid that contains lymph and fat. It is made in the small
intestine during digestion. Lymph is a watery fluid that carries nutrients like
protein, salts and sugar. The lymphatic system sends chyle into the blood stream
to nourish your body. This system also collects extra fluid from your body to
return it to the blood and helps your body fight infection.
How can a very low fat diet help?
If there is a chyle leak, the chyle can build up and cause swelling and other
problems in your body. The leak may happen after an injury or surgery to the
chest or neck. Cancer of the lymph nodes, called lymphoma, can also cause a
leak.
When fat is reduced in the diet, the body makes less chyle. With less chyle, there
is less fluid to leak into the body. The leak may heal and stop the problem.
Special Instructions
Talk with your doctor and dietitian about taking a multivitamin and the
use of protein and calorie supplements. It can be hard to meet the nutrition
needs of your body on this very low fat diet.
the above is from a pdf file from http://medicalcenter.osu.edu/Pages/index.aspx

jennie813
Posts: 3
Joined: May 2012

I was on  a complete non fat diet for weeks and they tried the old school pressure bandages as well. Nothing worked for me and the leak was very inconsistant each day. Eventually the doc just took it out and hoped for the best. Told me to watch my neck and make sure it didnt swell up with fluid and it didnt! 3.5 weeks with a drain was the pits! good luck to all!

songsmithp
Posts: 2
Joined: May 2012

I too had a chyle leak after a Dec. neck dissection for recurrent thyroid cancer. The RAI 2 times did not work to kill the cancer so I had surgery to remove lymph nodes. The chyle leak required 3 Jackson Pratt drains in my neck and the surgeon went back in to tie and stitch the thoracic duct because the chyle would not stop.It took two extra surgeries and then it stopped.It was scary to see that white milky stuff but it has stopped after about 2 months. I am told the chyle finds a way to get back into the blood wherenit belongs. Please let me know if yoy are doing better. Richard

happidad
Posts: 1
Joined: Sep 2012

I had my second neck dissection surgery at Stanford on August 20th and had a chyle leak. Had the hang bag and no fat diet until September 12th. The doctor told me of the possibility. All cancer was removed and the next step is external beam radiation. Good luck to all.

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