The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of thoracic duct embolization (TDE) on the management of postoperative chyle leakage.
We retrospectively reviewed the electronic medical record database of 4171 patients who underwent curative resection for lung or esophageal cancer between January 2015 and June 2017. We classified the period before the introduction of TDE as the first period and the period after the introduction of TDE as the second period.
A total of 105 patients who developed chyle leakage after surgery were included. In the first period, 49 patients who underwent lung surgery developed chylothorax. Of those, two patients (4.1%) underwent surgical ligation of the thoracic duct (TD). Of eight patients with chyle leakage after esophagectomy, four patients (50%) underwent TD ligation. In the second period, 30 patients developed postoperative chyle leakage after pulmonary resection. Only one (3.3%) of them required surgical ligation. Of eight patients with chyle leakage after esophagectomy, only two (11.1%) patients underwent TD ligation. Five patients (16.7%) received TDE after lung surgery and five patients (27.7%) after esophageal surgery. Also, in the second period, the hospital stay of patients who underwent lung cancer surgery was shorter than the first period (12.6 ± 4.6 days vs. 16.3 ± 9.7 days; p = 0.026).
TDE is an effective method for the management of chyle leakage and might help to avoid invasive surgery.

© 2021 The Authors. Thoracic Cancer published by China Lung Oncology Group and John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd.