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Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 2012 Jul;94(5):344-6. doi: 10.1308/003588412X13171221591899.

Trial of ligation versus coagulation of lymphatics in dynamic inguinal sentinel lymph node biopsy for staging of squamous cell carcinoma of the penis.

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  • 1St George‚Äôs Healthcare NHS Trust, UK. susannah.la-touche@nhs.net

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

The principal advantage of dynamic sentinel lymph node biopsy (DSNB) over modified inguinal node dissection is the lower complication rate. The aim of this study was to identify factors associated with short-term complications of DSNB in order to lower morbidity of the procedure.

METHODS:

Retrospective and prospective cohort studies were performed on patients undergoing DSNB between April 2005 and March 2010. Patients were categorised into three groups of 50 (from a total of 250 patients on the database). The patients of Group A, on whom ligaclips were the lymphovascular control technique, were compared with those of Group B, in whom diathermy was used. Incision length, operative time, number of nodes removed, antibiotics and co-morbidities were recorded. A prospective study on Group C, using ligaclips, was also performed.

RESULTS:

Groups A (88 groins), B (75 groins) and C (68 groins) were explored with complication rates of 5.7%, 24.0% (p =0.0018) and 8.8% (p =0.0277). Co-morbidities, antibiotics (co-amoxiclav 1.2g intravenous as per protocol) and the mean number of nodes removed were similar in all groups. The mean incision length was 4.1cm (standard deviation [SD]: 1.0 cm) for Group A, 5.6 cm (SD: 1.0 cm) for Group B (p =0.0001) and 5.6 cm (SD: 0.8 cm) for Group C (p =0.979). The mean operative times for Groups A, B and C were 15.8 (SD: 8.1), 19.3 (SD: 7.4) (p =0.0043) and 22.1 (SD: 7.7) (p =0.0301) minutes respectively.

CONCLUSIONS:

Lymphovascular control with diathermy is associated with a statistically higher short-term complication rate compared with ligaclip usage (ie 'permanent' ligation). Lymphocoeles are the principal complication and can result in delayed wound infection and breakdown. A small but statistical increase in operative time and wound length is likely to be related to registrar training.

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