Introduction: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the feasibility, clinical outcome and complications of laparoscopic surgery in women with endometrial cancer and to compare surgical outcome and postoperative early and late complications with results of traditional laparotomy.
Methods: Forty women with endometrial cancer underwent laparoscopic hysterectomy, bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy and pelvic lymphadenectomy. Each patient operated by laparoscopy was matched by age, preoperative clinical stage and histology of the endometrial cancer with a patient treated by the same operation but using traditional laparotomy. Half of these patients underwent total pelvic lymphadenectomy and half had pelvic lymph node sampling. The groups were compared in clinical characteristics, surgical outcomes, recoveries and early and late postoperative complications.
Results: The patients in the laparoscopy group had less blood loss, more lymph nodes removed, shorter hospital stay but longer operation time than those treated by laparotomy. Only one (2.5%) laparoscopy was converted to laparotomy due to pelvic adhesions. There were no intraoperative complications in either group. Postoperative complications were more common (55.0%) in the laparotomy than in the laparoscopy group (37.5%). Only one major complication (2.5%) occurred among patients undergoing laparoscopy as compared with three (7.5%) major complications in the laparotomy group. Superficial wound infection was the most common (20%) infection in laparotomy patients while vaginal cuff cellulitis occurred in 10% of laparoscopy patients. Late (>42 days) postoperative complications were almost equally frequent (20.0 and 22.5%) in both groups. Lower extremity lymph edema or pelvic lymph cyst was found in 12.5% of all cases. As a result of surgical staging the disease of 6 women (15%) in both groups was upgraded.
Conclusions: Laparoscopic surgery is a viable alternative to traditional surgery in the management of endometrial cancer. The surgical outcome is similar in both cases. In laparoscopic procedures the operation time is longer but the postoperative recovery time shorter than in laparotomy. Severe complications were limited in both groups, while wound infections can be avoided using laparoscopy.