Risk of spread of ovarian cancer after laparoscopic surgery

Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol. 2001 Feb;13(1):9-14. doi: 10.1097/00001703-200102000-00002.


The incidence of the spread of ovarian cancer after laparoscopic surgery is difficult to establish from the current literature. The prognosis incidence of a trocar site metastasis without peritoneal dissemination is not known. Data from general surgeons in prospective studies from a single institution suggested that in colon cancer the risk is low, whereas it seems to be much higher in multicentric studies of undiagnosed gallbladder cancer. Experimental studies suggested that laparoscopy has advantages and disadvantages. However, the risk of dissemination is high when a large number of malignant cells and a carbon dioxide pneumoperitoneum are present, a situation encountered when managing adnexal tumours with large vegetations. Animal studies will allow the development of a peritoneal environment adapted to the treatment of cancer. The ovary is an intraperitoneal organ and ovarian cancer a peritoneal disease, so the risk of peritoneal spread may be higher in ovarian cancer than in other gynecological cancers. A careful preoperative evaluation appears to be the best way to prevent these risks. It should also be used to choose which patient should be operated by which surgical team. The second step is a careful and cautious laparoscopic diagnosis, so that more than 98% of ovarian cancers encountered can be treated immediately and effectively. The laparoscopic management of ovarian cancer remains controversial; it should be performed only in prospective clinical trials. Until the results of such studies become available, an immediate vertical midline laparotomy remains the gold standard if a cancer is encountered.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laparoscopy / adverse effects*
  • Neoplasm Seeding*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Prospective Studies