Objective: The study goal was to evaluate whether quantitative analysis of neck drainage contents is an important parameter of objective and early diagnosis of chylous fistula (CF) in the postoperative period.
Study design and setting: We prospectively evaluated 103 consecutive neck dissections during a 2-year period at a tertiary academic referral center. Six of the patients (5.8%) had CF. The data obtained from the patients with CF were matched with normal data obtained from patients without CF.
Results: A statistically significant difference was found between total drainage volumes of the patients with and those without CF (P < 0.05). In almost all patients with CF, drainage levels of triglycerides and cholesterol on postoperative day 1 were higher than serum levels. The difference between the drainage levels of triglycerides and cholesterol of the patients with and without CF was highly significant (P < 0.001).
Conclusions: Serum and drainage levels of triglycerides and cholesterol on postoperative day 1 can be used as objective and early predictive parameters of CF.