Lymphadenectomy is surgery to remove
lymph nodes. A lymphadenectomy, also called lymph node
dissection, may be done to examine certain lymph nodes for
endometrial cancer cells. The removal and examination
of the cancerous lymph nodes will determine the exact
stage and grade of the cancer and may reduce the spread of the disease. The
procedure can be done through an abdominal incision or by
A lymphadenectomy may be done:
Lymphadenectomy usually is an extensive operation in which
lymph nodes in different parts of the pelvis are removed. This is necessary
because cancer can spread through the lymph system to other areas of the
Lymphadenectomy usually is done under
general anesthesia. The length of time required for
recovery depends upon the extent of the procedure. If the procedure is done
with a laparoscope rather than by open abdominal incision, recovery time may be
shorter. But most surgeons have more experience with open surgery than
with laparoscopic surgery. Laparoscopic surgery may take longer than open
surgery unless the surgeon is well-experienced with laparoscopic techniques.
Some doctors recommend that a lymphadenectomy be performed in all
cases of endometrial cancer. Others believe that this procedure might not be
needed when the cancer is diagnosed at a very early stage and is found to be
a slow-growing grade. Lymphadenectomy may be
Removal of lymph nodes helps to determine whether cancer is present
and provides more accurate information about the extent and type of cancer cell
growth. Removal of the cancerous lymph nodes may reduce the spread of
Risks of a lymphadenectomy include:
Lymphadenectomy often is not done if earlier tests show that
low-grade cancer is in a very early stage.
Complete the surgery information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you prepare for this surgery.
November 29, 2010
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Ross Berkowitz, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
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