The introduction of cytoreductive surgery (CRS) and hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) has led to an improvement in the survival of select patients with peritoneal surface malignancies (PSM). However, it is important to carefully identify patients who will benefit from this procedure and to avoid an unnecessary laparotomy in those who will not. The currently available imaging modalities are unable to accurately predict the peritoneal cancer index (PCI) score or the completeness of cytoreduction. In this article, we review the current status of staging laparoscopy in the assessment of patients with PSM who are planned for CRS & HIPEC. We discuss the patient selection, techniques, complications and efficacy of staging laparoscopy. To summarise, staging laparoscopy is a safe and feasible method of pre-operative assessment of patients with PSM. It has a high sensitivity and positive predictive value in identifying patients who can undergo a complete cytoreduction, thereby preventing many patients from undergoing an unnecessary laparotomy. With the exception of pseudomyxoma peritonei, it should be considered as a part of the routine assessment of patients with PSM who are being considered for CRS & HIPEC.
Keywords: Cytoreductive surgery; Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy; Laparoscopy; Peritoneal metastasis; Pseudomyxoma peritonei; Staging.