Objective Mini-invasive surgery has essentially replaced open laparotomy in surgery for endometrial and cervical carcinoma. Of the procedures needed for a complete staging, especially para-aortic lymphadenectomy (PALND) is challenging to perform. The present study was undertaken to investigate the technical and surgical outcomes of robotic-assisted PALND for gynecological cancers in the setting of a tertiary university hospital in Finland.
Methods This was a retrospective chart review of 283 robotic-assisted para-aortic lymphadenectomies using the single-docking transperitoneal technique performed at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology of Tampere University Hospital, in 2009–2016. The primary outcome measure was the extent of the operation in terms of the height, that is, how often the level cranial to the inferior mesenteric artery (IMA) was achieved. The secondary outcome measures included operation time and surgical outcome.
Results The majority of operations (n = 239 [84.4%]) were performed for endometrial carcinoma. The most common operation type was robotic-assisted hysterectomy, bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, and pelvic lymphadenectomy and PALND, which took a median of 3:38 hours or 218 minutes (range, 140–341 minutes) to perform. The high PALND (above the level of IMA) succeeded in 235 operations (83%). In the total cohort, the median number of para-aortic lymph nodes removed was 12 (range, 0–38), with a learning curve approximately more than 40 operations. Para-aortic lymph node metastases were found in 43 patients (15.2%). Seven conversions to laparotomy (2.5%) were done. The conversion and intraoperative complication rates were 2.5% and 3.5%, respectively, and postoperative complications was 18%, according to the classification of Clavien-Dindo. The median length of the postoperative hospital stay was 2 days (range, 1–8 days).
Conclusions Using the transperitoneal technique for PALND, the area between IMA and the renal veins can be reached in more than 80% of the operations, with a very low or 2.5% conversion rate.
- Endometrial carcinoma
- Infrarenal para-aortic lymphadenectomy
- Para-aortic lymphadenectomy
- Robotic-assisted surgery
- Transperitoneal approach
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