What is Pelvic Lymphadenectomy?
Pelvic lymphadenectomy is the surgical removal of lymph nodes in the pelvic region to examine them for the presence of cancer. Like blood vessels, lymph vessels form an elaborate network that plays a vital role in the body’s defense system and forms a major pathway for cancer cells to spread to other parts of the body. Removal of suspicious lymph nodes helps aid in the diagnosis of cancer, staging and planning an appropriate treatment plan. It is indicated for prostate, bladder, urethral and penile cancers.
Pelvic lymphadenectomy can be performed either through open or minimally invasive laparoscopic or robotic techniques. In the open method, a single large incision is made on your lower abdomen, while the minimally invasive methods require smaller incisions. The infected lymph nodes are identified, removed and sent for analysis in the laboratory. Pelvic lymphadenectomy may sometimes be combined with the removal of cancer infected organs as well, such as the bladder.
As with all surgeries, pelvic lymphadenectomy may be associated with certain complications such as bleeding, deep vein thrombosis, injury to adjacent nerves and blood vessels and swelling caused by retention of fluid.