Bilateral chylothorax following reoperative central neck dissection for metastatic papillary thyroid cancer

BMJ Case Rep. 2018 Apr 17;2018:bcr2018224916. doi: 10.1136/bcr-2018-224916.


Locoregional recurrence of papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) can occur in up to 30% of patients within 10 years after initial treatment. Reoperative surgery can be challenging due to scarring, fibrosis and distorted anatomy and may be associated with increased complications compared with initial operations. Chylothorax is an extremely rare and potentially life-threatening complication that can be associated with neck dissections and thyroid surgery. In this report, we describe an unusual case of bilateral chylothorax following a left central neck dissection for recurrent PTC.

Keywords: head and neck surgery; otolaryngology / ENT; surgery; surgical oncology.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carcinoma, Papillary / complications
  • Carcinoma, Papillary / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Papillary / surgery*
  • Chylothorax / etiology
  • Chylothorax / surgery*
  • Female
  • Hashimoto Disease / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Neck Dissection* / adverse effects
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / pathology
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / surgery*
  • Postoperative Complications / surgery*
  • Reoperation
  • Thyroid Cancer, Papillary
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / complications
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / pathology
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome