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Gynecol Oncol. 1998 Jun;69(3):237-42.

"Medically necessary" panniculectomy to facilitate gynecologic cancer surgery in morbidly obese patients.

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  • 1Gynecologic Oncology Associates, Hoag Memorial Hospital Cancer Center, Newport Beach, California 92663, USA.


A retrospective review of patients in our practice who underwent abdominal panniculectomy to facilitate gynecologic cancer surgery was performed. The objective of the study was to determine if panniculectomy was a safe and useful procedure in the morbidly obese gynecologic cancer patient. A total of 12 patients underwent the procedure between 1992 and 1996. Optimal pelvic oncologic surgery was accomplished in all 12 patients. All aspects of those procedures were performed by gynecologic oncologists. The Buchwalter retractor was used in all cases. The patients' weights ranged from 170 to 429 pounds, with a mean of 275 pounds. The mean body mass index was 48, with a range from 37 to 67. Four patients had a history of diabetes mellitus. Nine patients healed without wound complications. Three patients developed superficial subcutaneous wound infections/necrosis that were successfully managed with office debridement. Abdominal panniculectomy is a reasonably safe procedure that makes radical pelvic surgery possible regardless of the patient's weight. Prolonged wound bulb suction drainage may decrease the incidence of wound necrosis/infection in these high-risk patients.

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