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Surgery. 1991 Sep;110(3):561-5.

Chylous ascites and lymphocyst management by peritoneovenous shunt.

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Department of Surgical Oncology, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, N.Y.


Although lymphocyst (retroperitoneal lymphocele) is not an uncommon complication after retroperitoneal surgery, with a reported incidence ranging from 0.6% to 48%, the occurrence of chylous ascites is a rare phenomenon. Most reports are anecdotal, and hospital records list the incidence of diagnosis as 0.001% of admissions. Diagnosis of chylous ascites is usually not difficult, inasmuch as aspiration and chemical analysis of the fluid yield the answer. Visualization of retroperitoneal fluid collection by computerized tomography or ultrasonography, however, does always raise the possibility of recurrence of tumor in cases where the primary operation was for cancer. Treatment of smaller lesions can be expectant. Respiratory exercises causing an increase in negative intrathoracic pressure may aid in the movement of fluid through the lymphatics. For larger collections, elemental diets and total parenteral nutrition are also often enough, but surgery is sometimes required. Simple insertion of a peritoneovenous shunt, as in this patient, can be as effective as major operations such as identification and ligation of the offending lymphatic or marsupialization of the cyst.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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