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The fundamental role of the exploration of the upper abdomen in ovarian cancer surgery

Obstetrics & Gynecology International Journal
Bianchi F, Camargo A, Habich D, Castaño R

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Purpose: Several studies have shown the benefit of cytoreductive surgery in advanced disease, that is why the residual tumor has prognostic value. Our primary objective was to determine the frequency of involvement of the upper abdomen, defined as the extension of the disease above the transverse colon (diaphragm, spleen, gallbladder, stomach, hepatic parenchyma, hepatic capsule, minor omentum, hepatic ilium, pancreas). Our secondary objective was to analyze the possibilities of complete cytoreduction in these patients, their complications and results.
Materials and methods: We retrospectively include patients undergoing primary and secondary cytoreduction due to ovarian carcinoma between January 2008 and December 2012, in the gynecology department of the German Hospital.
Results: One hundred and thirty nine patients with ovarian carcinoma were analyzed. An average age of 60 years (28-90). 91 of them with attempted primary cytoreduction and 48 secondary cytoreduction. In the group of primary cytoreductions we excluded 17 patients that were stages I and II, 20 (22%) of the 74 stages III-IV had upper abdomen involvement, 17 stages III and 3 stages IV. Those stage IV patients were only limited to hepatic intraparenchymal involvement. Of the 48 secondary cytoreductions, 21 (43%) presented upper abdominal involvement. Including both groups we have 30% of upper abdomen compromise. Complete or optimal cytoreduction was achieved in 56% of them.
Conclusion: The exploration of the superior abdomen in ovarian cancer surgery is key, and the approach of this patients by a team of properly trained gynecologists is mandatory if we want to obtain better complete cytoreduction rates.


abdomen, ovarian cancer, cytoreductive surgery, gynecology