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Gynecol Oncol. 2007 Jan;104(1):46-51. Epub 2006 Aug 21.

Postoperative ileus after para-aortic lymphadenectomy: a prospective study.

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Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Campobasso, Italy.



To evaluate GI symptoms in patients submitted to systematic para-aortic lymphadenectomy (PALN) and to compare them in a contemporary series of patients only submitted to systematic pelvic lymphadenectomy (PLN).


A prospective study of 51 consecutive patients submitted to systematic (minimum number of aortic nodes removed > or =10) laparotomic para-aortic lymphadenectomy for any gynecological cancer. The following parameters have been monitored prospectively: nausea and vomiting, bowel movements, nasogastric tube insertion or reinsertion, the time of removal of the nasogastric tube, duration of ileus, time to first passage of stool, regular diet consumption and postoperative stay and complications.


Twenty-three of 46 valuable patients (50%) submitted to systematic para-aortic lymphadenectomy complain of GI symptoms during recovery and 2 more cases have been readmitted for the appearance of nausea and vomiting with respect to 3 cases (5%) in the group of only pelvic lymphadenectomies (p=0.00001). According to multivariate analysis, the main determinant of post/operative GI dysfunction is the systematic aortic lymphadenectomy. Twenty-two out of a total of 28 symptomatic patients (78.6%) have accused mild symptoms and have been therefore treated by fasting, by intravenous fluid administration and by anti-emetic drugs. Out of the six remaining patients, three patients (10.7%) have been classified as moderate cases because they have required the insertion of a nasogastric tube for gastric decompression, whereas in the remaining refractory patients (10.7%, severe cases) prokinetics drugs have been used. An exploratory laparotomy has never been performed.


GI dysfunction symptoms are very common in patients submitted to systematic para-aortic lymphadenectomy. However, only 20% of the patients complain about moderate/severe symptoms. In these cases, we strongly recommend a conservative management.

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