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Obstet Gynecol. 1991 Apr;77(4):563-5.

Laparoscopic excision of ovarian neoplasms subsequently found to be malignant.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, State University of New York Health Science Center, Brooklyn.


One hundred fifty-six members and candidate members of the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists responded to a survey concerning the "laparoscopic management of ovarian neoplasms subsequently found to be malignant." Twenty-nine responders (19%) reported a total of 42 cases of ovarian malignancy. The laparoscopic procedure was aborted or the cyst was aspirated in 38% of the cases, and partial or complete excisions were attempted in 33 and 29%, respectively. The characteristics of the masses were as follows: less than 8 cm 67%, cystic 62%, unilocular 48%, and unilateral 81%. All four "benign" characteristics were present in 31% of the cases found to be malignant, and three of four characteristics were present in 24%. Laparotomy was performed at the time of laparoscopy in 17% of cases, after laparoscopy in 71% with an average interval of 4.8 weeks, and not at all in 12%. Fifty-seven percent of the cases were invasive epithelial malignancies, whereas 29% were tumors of low malignant potential. At least 50% of the patients had stages II-IV. We conclude that attempted laparoscopic excisions of adnexal masses that are subsequently found to be malignant are not uncommon, and that the presence of so-called "benign" characteristics does not preclude malignancy. Attempts at partial or complete excision are common, as are delays in subsequent definitive surgery. The stage of disease is often advanced, and all histologic types of malignancy are encountered. We advocate careful evaluation of this practice, with development of strict guidelines to ensure optimal patient care.

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