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Surg Gynecol Obstet. 1993 Apr;176(4):333-8.

Diagnoses after laparotomy for a mass in the pelvic area in women.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Rochester School of Medicine, New York.


The management and outcome of 80 women with an undiagnosed pelvic mass who were referred to the Gynecologic Oncology Division at the University of Rochester during a one year period were reviewed. All patients underwent an exploratory laparotomy for definitive diagnosis. We correlated the final diagnosis with the results of preoperative evaluation and intraoperative assessment. Of the 80 patients, 48 were diagnosed with malignant disease. Of patients with carcinoma, 32 had carcinoma of the ovaries, two had other gynecologic malignancies, ten had nongynecologic malignancies and four had synchronous gynecologic and nongynecologic carcinomas. Carcinoma of the colon and rectum was the most common nongynecologic carcinoma; other malignant diseases were found in the endometrium, vagina, colon and rectum and the breast as well as lymphoma. Preoperative roentgenographic examinations and colonoscopy only had a sensitivity of 38 percent in detecting primary carcinoma of the colon and rectum. Ultrasound of the pelvic region and computed tomographic scan of the abdomen did not improve prediction of malignant disease in the patient population. Serum CA 125 was elevated in 26 of 37 patients with a carcinoma; however, it was elevated with relatively equal frequency in carcinomas of the ovaries and colon and rectum. Intraoperative frozen section accurately identified the primary site of the disease in 90 percent of the patients. However, in the presence of a tumor in the ovaries, carcinomatosis and a tumor in the colon, the results of frozen section were erroneous in four of six patients. Because preoperative assessment seems to be of limited value in excluding nongynecologic lesions, we recommend that pelvic surgeons be prepared to manage operatively a variety of malignant disease or have appropriate consultation available at laparotomy.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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