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Long term complications following pelvic and para-aortic lymphadenectomy for endometrial cancer, incidence and potential risk factors: a single institution experience


Objective To determine the incidence of long term lymphadenectomy complications in primary surgery for endometrial cancer and to elucidate risk factors for these complications.

Methods A retrospective chart review was carried out for all patients with endometrial cancer managed at Parma University Hospital Unit of Gynecology and Obstetrics between 2010 and 2016. Inclusion criteria were surgical procedure including hysterectomy and lymphadenectomy (pelvic or pelvic and aortic). We identified patients with postoperative lymphocele and lower extremity lymphedema. Logistic regression analysis was used to identify predictive factors for postoperative complications.

Results Of the 249 patients tested, 198 underwent pelvic lymphadenectomy (79.5%), and 51 (20.5%) of those underwent both pelvic and para-aortic lymphadenectomy. Among the 249 patients, 92 (36.9 %) developed lymphedema while 43 (17.3%) developed lymphocele. Multivariate analysis showed that addition of para-artic lymphadenectomy was an independent predictor for both lymphedema (odds ratio (OR) 2.764, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.023 to 7.470) and lymphocele (OR 5.066, 95% CI 1.605 to 15.989). Moreover, postoperative adjuvant radiotherapy (OR 2.733, 95% CI 1.149 to 6.505) and identification of any positive lymph node (OR 19.391, 95% CI 1.486 to 253.0) were significantly correlated with lymphedema, while removal of circumflex iliac nodes (OR 8.596, 95% CI 1.144 to 65.591) was associated with lymphoceles occurrence.

Conclusion Although sentinel lymph node navigation is a promising option, lymphadenectomy represents the primary treatment in many patients with endometrial cancer. However, comprehensive nodal dissection remains associated with a high rate of long term complications, such as lymphedema and lymphocele. Avoiding risk factors that are related to the development of these postoperative complications is often difficult and, therefore, the strategy to assess lymph nodal status in these women must be tailored to obtain the maximum results in terms of oncological and functional outcome.

  • endometrial cancer
  • lymphadenectomy
  • lymphocele
  • lymphedema

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