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European UrologyVolume 52, issue 5, pages 1281-1548, November 2007
Surgery in Motion
Laparoscopic Extended Pelvic Lymph Node Dissection for Prostate Cancer: Description of the Surgical Technique and Initial Results
Accepted 24 April 2007, Published online 2 May 2007, pages 1347 - 1357
In patients with prostate cancer, extended pelvic lymph node dissection (ePLND) yields a higher number of lymph node metastases (LNM) than standard pelvic lymph node dissection (PLND) of the obturator fossa only. We describe our laparoscopic technique of extended lymph node dissection and provide the number and locations of positive lymph nodes from our experience.
In a total of 35 selected patients with clinically localized prostate cancer, laparoscopic ePLND was performed prior to laparoscopic radical prostatectomy. The template included the genitofemoral nerve up to the bifurcation of the common iliac artery and down to the epigastric artery. In the “split and roll” technique the internal and external iliac arteries including the bifurcation and the external iliac vein were completely mobilized. After freeing the obturator nerve, the entire lymph node package was released from the pelvic side wall.
Mean operative time was 90 min/patient. The complications were two temporary and reversible neurapraxias (ischiatic nerve and obturator nerve), one deep vein thrombosis, and two lymphoceles. One lymphocele healed conservatively; the second was marsupialized laparoscopically. Eleven (31.4%) patients had lymph node metastases; their mean prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level was 20.3 ± 7.0 ng/ml (range: 5.2–39.7 ng/ml) and their median Gleason sum in biopsy was 7 (range: 6–8). Mean size of the LNM was 3.1 ± 1.0 mm (range: 0.2–8). In 5 of the 11 patients with LNM these were detected exclusively outside the obturator fossa. LNM were in the obturator fossa only in two (one bilateral), around the external iliac artery only in two, around the internal iliac artery only in two, and around the external iliac artery and internal iliac only in one patient.
Laparoscopic ePLND can be combined with laparoscopic radical prostatectomy. Standardization of the technique facilitates surgery to a great extent. e-PLND detects LNM in a significant number of patients. The majority of LNM are outside the obturator fossa. The transperitoneal approach allows a wide exposure and is the most important factor to enable successful ePLND.
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