Granulomatous lymphadenitis mimicking metastatic lymphadenopathy in the neck after lymphatic embolization of chyle leakage: A case report

Kyeong Hwa Ryu, Hye Jin Baek, Soo Buem Cho, Hyo Jung An, Jin Pyeong Kim

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Rationale: Lymphatic embolization is a minimally invasive treatment option for managing chyle leakage after nodal dissection in the neck. After the procedure, the embolic material may cause foreign body granulomatous lymphadenitis and can be a diagnostic challenge for radiologists because of sonographic similarity to metastatic lymph node. Herein, we describe a clinical case of granulomatous lymphadenitis due to embolic material mimicking nodal metastasis detected on ultrasonography (US) with cytologic findings in a patient with thyroid cancer who underwent lymphatic embolization to treat chyle leakage after total thyroidectomy and neck dissection. We also review the relevant literature regarding this disease with technical background of the procedure and suggest the importance of clinical suspicion in diagnosing the granulomatous lymphadenitis in patients with a history of lymphatic embolization. Patient concerns: A 40-year-old man who underwent total thyroidectomy and bilateral modified radical neck dissection due to papillary thyroid carcinoma had suspicious cervical lymph node on US after lymphatic embolization of chyle leakage. Diagnoses: The suspicious cervical lymph node proved to be foreign body granulomatous lymphadenitis due to embolic material by US-guided fine-needle aspiration. Interventions: The patient did not undergone additional surgery because the pathologic cervical lymph node was confirmed to be foreign body granulomatous lymphadenitis. Outcomes: The patient is being followed up regularly at the outpatient department. Lessons: Clinical awareness of the technical background of lymphatic embolization and possible sonographic features of granulomatous lymphadenitis is important for an accurate diagnosis and the appropriate management in patients who underwent lymphatic embolization.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12744
JournalMedicine (United States)
Issue number41
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2018 the Author(s). Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License 4.0 (CCBY-NC-ND), where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially without permission from the journal.


  • Chyle leakage
  • Granulomatous lymphadenitis
  • Lymph node metastasis
  • Lymphatic embolization


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