Objective: Systemic lymphadenectomy for carcinoma of the oesophagus and stomach is increasingly accepted as effective surgical treatment. A review of available literature reveals a great variety in the number of lymph nodes removed during standard lymphadenectomy. The present study was conducted to find the normal number of lymph nodes in the Indian population in relation to lymphadenectomy for oesophageal and gastric carcinoma.
Methods: Lymph nodes situated at stations 1-16, relevant to lymphadenectomy for gastric cancer, were removed by lymph node dissection according to the recommendations of the Japanese Research Society for Gastric Cancer and those at the 22 stations, relevant to lymphadenectomy in oesophageal cancer, were removed according to the International Society for Diseases of the Esophagus recommendations in 10 cadavers without a history of any abdominal pathology or haematological lymphatic disease. Nodes were cleared by dissolving fatty tissue. All lymph nodes were histologically confirmed and the diameter of each lymph node was recorded.
Results: An average of 52.0 nodes (range, 37-78 nodes) was found at Stations 1-16, while an average of 183.6 nodes (range, 118-234 nodes) was found at the 22 stations. These numbers are higher than those in the literature.
Conclusion: This anatomical study addresses the dual issues of determining the number of dissectable lymph nodes in a particular population as well as assessing the quality of nodal dissection by providing quantitative surgical guidelines.