A Retrospective Study of Complications Following Pelvic and Para-Aortic Lymphadenectomy in Gynecologic Oncology

Thitima Saemathong, Woraphot Chaowawanit


Background: Lymphadenectomy plays an essential role in the staging protocols for gynecologic cancers, as recommended by International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO). While its benefits vary, complications may arise during intra-operative, acute post-operative, or long-term periods. Notably, lymphadenectomy-associated systemic morbidity and specific complications such as lymphocele and lymphedema have been reported.

Methods: This retrospective study involved 399 patients with cervical, endometrial, and ovarian cancers who underwent pelvic and para-aortic lymphadenectomy. The follow-up period was at least 3 months. Intra-operative complications encompassed adjacent organ injury and significant blood loss, while acute post-operative complications occurred within 29 days. Post-30-day complications included lymphocele and lymphedema. Logistic regression analysis identified predictors for complications.

Results: The overall complication rate was 42.4%, with intra-operative, acute post-operative, and long-term rates of 26.1%, 11.0%, and 14.0%, respectively. Predictors for overall complications included laparotomy, positive lymph nodes, and operative time > 240 min. For intra-operative complications, age > 60 years, laparotomy, positive lymph nodes, and operative time > 240 min were significant predictors. Symptomatic lymphocele and lymphedema occurred in 6.0% and 2.0% of patients, respectively, mainly in the long-term period.

Conclusion: Although the overall complication rate after gynecologic surgery was found to be almost half of all cases, the rate of severe complications was low. Additionally, the rates of symptomatic lymphocele and lymphedema were low. Lymphadenectomy in gynecologic cancer surgery can be performed safely.

World J Oncol. 2024;15(3):423-431
doi: https://doi.org/10.14740/wjon1824


Gynecologic cancers; Lymphadenectomy; Complication; Lymphocele; Lymphedema

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