Splenectomy in gynecologic oncology: indications, complications, and technique

Gynecol Oncol. 1991 Nov;43(2):118-22. doi: 10.1016/0090-8258(91)90056-b.


Although uncommonly performed in this setting, splenectomy is sometimes indicated in patients with gynecologic malignancies. From January 1970 through March 1989, 45 patients at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center underwent splenectomy during the course of gynecologic laparotomies. All procedures were performed by the gynecology staff and trainees. Twenty-seven patients (60%) had ovarian cancer; endometrial and cervical cancers were present in three patients each. The remaining 11 patients had other diseases. Splenectomy was planned preoperatively in only 9 patients (20%). Thirteen patients (29%) underwent splenectomy because of injury to the spleen. Injury was most commonly due to traction during omentectomy, resulting in capsular laceration. The injury was immediately recognized in 12 patients; 1 patient required reexploration for hemoperitoneum. In 24 patients (53%), splenectomy was performed for tumor reduction. Pathologic examination showed that 11 of 24 patients had capsular involvement by tumor, 7 had parenchymal metastases, and 6 had no direct splenic involvement. Residual tumor following cytoreduction was smaller than 2 cm in 62.5% of patients. Splenectomy is a well-tolerated procedure and the operative approach can be tailored to the clinical situation and distribution of tumor. An attempt should be made to repair splenic injury when tumor involvement is not present.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Genitalia, Female / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Iatrogenic Disease
  • Intraoperative Complications
  • Middle Aged
  • Morbidity
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spleen / injuries
  • Spleen / surgery
  • Splenectomy* / adverse effects
  • Splenectomy* / methods