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Role of diaphragmatic surgery in 69 patients with ovarian carcinoma
  1. K. Devolder,
  2. F. Amant,
  3. P. Neven,
  4. T. Van Gorp,
  5. K. Leunen and
  6. I. Vergote
  1. Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Division of Gynaecological Oncology, University Hospitals Leuven, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Ignace Vergote, MD, PhD, Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Division of Gynaecological Oncology, University Hospitals Leuven, Gasthuisberg, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium. Email: ignace.vergote{at}


Diaphragmatic stripping or coagulation is a technique aiming to optimally cytoreduce ovarian cancer. We investigated the complications, the overall survival, and the relapse rate following this procedure. Records of 69 patients with diaphragmatic involvement who underwent debulking surgery between September 1993 and December 2001 were reviewed. A total of 69 patients underwent diaphragmatic surgery as part of cytoreductive surgery for epithelial ovarian cancer. In 17 cases, the diaphragmatic tumors were stripped from the muscle, in 22 cases coagulated, and in 30 cases stripped and coagulated. Postoperative complications were pleural effusion (41 cases, 3 needed a chest drain, 7 needed a pleural puncture, 1 needed both) and pneumothorax (4 cases, 1 needed a chest drain). In one case of bilateral pleural effusion, the patient developed pneumonia. In one case of pleural effusion on the right side, the patient needed a pleural puncture and developed a partial atelectasis of the middle lobe of the right lung. The median overall survival was 66 months in the stripping group compared with 49 months in the coagulation group. In 56 cases (81%), the patient developed a relapse, and the first site of relapse was the diaphragm in 11 cases (20%). We conclude that diaphragmatic resection is an important part of optimal debulking surgery with an acceptable morbidity.

  • complications
  • debulking surgery
  • diaphragm stripping
  • diaphragmatic tumor
  • ovarian cancer
  • relapse
  • survival

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