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Arch Surg. 1998 Mar;133(3):272-4; discussion 275.

Extraperitoneal laparoscopically assisted ilioinguinal lymphadenectomy for treatment of malignant melanoma.

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Service of General and Digestive Surgery, Hospital Clinic, University of Barcelona, Spain.



Current treatment of malignant melanoma of the leg includes ilioinguinal lymphadenectomy (IIL). Standard open IIL (open IIL) includes sectioning of the inguinal ligament to gain access to the iliac nodes. Extraperitoneal laparoscopic IIL (lap IIL) is a feasible, less aggressive approach. It can be combined with standard superficial lymphadenectomy for treatment of malignant melanoma.


Comparative, prospective, nonrandomized series.


Tertiary care center.


Twelve consecutive, unselected patients with malignant melanoma treated with lap IIL (group 1) were compared with 10 consecutive, unselected patients with malignant melanoma on whom open IIL was performed (group 2).


Standard open IIL and laparoscopic extraperitoneal iliac lymphadenectomy (lap IIL) plus superficial groin lymphadenectomy.


Operative time, intraoperative complications, requirements of analgesia, total volume of lymphatic drainage, number of lymph nodes retrieved, immediate morbidity, hospital stay, and long-term morbidity were evaluated.


Operative time was significantly longer for the lap IIL group (group 1) than for the open IIL group (group 2) (177+/-44 vs 140+/-18 minutes, respectively; P<.05), but no patients in group 1 needed conversion to open surgery or developed related complications. Overall lymphatic drainage was significantly lower in group 1 than in group 2 (615+/-518 mL vs 1393+/-793 mL, repectively; P<.01). The number of doses of analgesics (13+/-8 vs 31+/-22, P<.03) and length of postoperative stay (7.3+/-3.3 vs 13+/-5 days, P<.006) were also significantly lower in the laparoscopic group. The overall number of lymph nodes retrieved was similar in both groups (10.2+/-4.6 vs 10+/-3, P=.9). One patient developed a groin hernia of 6 m after open IIL.


Laparoscopically assisted IIL offers a less aggressive approach than open IIL and entails less pain and a shorter hospital stay, as we observed in 2 groups with similar oncological results (mainly, a similar number of lymph nodes retrieved) who were treated with one procedure or the other. Further research should be done to confirm these preliminary advantages in a prospective randomized trial with long-term follow-up.

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