Anatomic Abnormalities of the Retroperitoneum Encountered During Aortic and Pelvic Lymphadenectomy

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Our purpose was to describe retroperitoneal abnormalities and related surgical problems encountered during lymphadenectomy.


A prospective study was carried out on 309 consecutive patients with cervical, endometrial, and ovarian cancer treated with systematic aortic and pelvic lymphadenectomy at the Department of Gynecological Oncology of the Catholic University, Rome.


Urinary and vascular anomalies were observed in five (1.6%) and 42 (13.6%) cases, respectively. Preoperative diagnosis was made by intravenous pyelography and computed tomographic scan in 14.9% (seven of 47) of patients with malformations. In three cases abnormal vessels were accidentally injured during lymphadenectomy with no postoperative sequelae.


Preoperative diagnosis of retroperitoneal abnormalities is rarely made during routine preoperative workup. Thus during surgery an accurate surgical technique including adequate exposure of retroperitoneal organs and careful blunt dissection together with a knowledge of both normal and abnormal anatomy are necessary to avoid accidental injury to abnormal retroperitoneal organs. (AM J OBSTET GYNECOL 1994;170:111-6.)

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