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Chylous ascites as a complication of laparoscopic colorectal surgery

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Until now, no data have been available on the incidence of chylous ascites after laparoscopic colorectal surgery.

From January 2007 to December 2011, 137 patients with colorectal cancer underwent laparoscopic surgery at our institution. The clinical data of the patients with postoperative chylous ascites were compared with those of the patients without chylous ascites.

Chylous ascites developed in 9 of the 137 patients (6.5%). Blood loss, operative time, tumor location, and extent of lymph node dissection were not associated with postoperative chylous ascites. Mean postoperative hospital stay for patients with chylous ascites was significantly longer than that for patients without any complications (14 days vs 10 days; P < 0.001). Recurrence was observed in two of the nine patients with chylous ascites; it developed locally and in the liver in one patient, and peritoneal dissemination was seen in the other. The recurrence rate in the chylous ascites group (22.2%) was significantly higher than that in the non‐chylous ascites group (3.9%; P = 0.016). The 3‐year disease‐free survival in the chylous ascites group (76.2%) was significantly lower than that in the non‐chylous ascites group (93.4%; P = 0.020); however, the 3‐year overall survival rates did not differ between the groups (87.5% vs 94.4%, respectively; P = 0.332).

Chylous ascites are not a rare complication of laparoscopic colorectal surgery. It was managed conservatively in all cases but was associated with longer hospital stays. We recommend careful tissue dissection at a suitable plane and meticulous clipping during lymphadenectomy to prevent chyle leakage when lymphatic invasion is suspected.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2013

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