Background: Pelvic lymphadenectomy is an integral component of gynecologic cancer surgery, yet there is a lack of standardization in the terminology used, the extent of the procedure, and the definition of anatomic landmarks. This lack of standardization if corrected will likely facilitate a more clear communication and analysis of outcomes from various institutions, and reduce confusion to trainees about the procedure being performed.
Methods: We summarize the anatomic data concerning pelvic lymphatic drainage; describe the procedure based on clearly defined anatomic landmarks; and finally propose a new classification system to facilitate standardization, communication, and comparison of results. The accompanying video demonstrates the anatomic landmarks.
Results: We list and define four commonly used terms related to pelvic lymph node harvesting: sentinel node mapping, excision of bulky nodes, pelvic lymph node sampling, and systematic pelvic lymphadenectomy. We list the five specific anatomic regions of the pelvic lymphatic basin: external iliac, obturator, internal iliac, common iliac, and presacral. We highlight the important neural structures located in regions of the pelvic lymphadenectomy: genitofemoral nerve, obturator nerve, cranial part of the lumbosacral plexus, hypogastric plexus, and splanchnic nerves. Finally, we propose a new, four-part classification system of types of pelvic lymph node dissection.
Conclusion: In this report and video, we demonstrate anatomy and offer a new classification system for pelvic lymphadenectomy.