What is lymph node removal for endometrial cancer?

Lymph Node Removal for Endometrial Cancer
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Lymph node removal surgery (lymphadenectomy) for endometrial cancer: Overview

This surgery, also called lymph node dissection, may be done to examine the pelvic and para-aortic lymph nodes for endometrial cancer cells. Removing and checking the cancerous lymph nodes will let the doctor know the exact stage and grade of the cancer. And it may reduce the spread of the disease. The procedure can be done through an incision in the belly or by laparoscope.

The surgery may be done:

  • If cancer cells are found in certain lymph nodes that were removed in an earlier surgery.
  • As part of a hysterectomy if cancer has invaded the deep part of the muscle, the cancer is of higher grade, or your doctor suspects that cancer may spread to other parts of the body.

The surgery usually is an extensive operation in which lymph nodes are removed. This is needed because cancer can spread through the lymph system to other areas of the body. The surgery usually is done under general anesthesia.

How well does lymph node removal surgery (lymphadenectomy) for endometrial cancer work?

Removing the lymph nodes helps your doctor find out if you have cancer. It also gives more accurate information about the extent and type of cancer cell growth. Removing cancerous lymph nodes may reduce the spread of cancer.

What are the risks of lymph node removal surgery (lymphadenectomy) for endometrial cancer?

Risks of a lymphadenectomy include:

  • Lymphedema.
  • Bleeding.
  • Infection.
  • Collection of lymph fluid in the pelvis (lymphocele).

What can you expect as you recover from lymph node removal surgery (lymphadenectomy) for endometrial cancer?

If the procedure is done with a laparoscope rather than by open abdominal incision, recovery time may be shorter.

Why is lymph node removal surgery (lymphadenectomy) for endometrial cancer done?

Some doctors recommend that this surgery be done in all cases of endometrial cancer. Others believe that this procedure might not be needed when the cancer is diagnosed at a very early stage and is found to be a slow-growing grade. Surgery may be needed if:

  • Cancer cells are found in selected lymph nodes that were removed in an earlier surgery.
  • Cancer cells are found in a lymph node at the time you are having surgery.
  • Your pelvic lymph nodes are enlarged.
  • Cancer cells are a higher grade (faster-growing).
  • Cancer cells have grown into the muscle of the uterus, the cervix, or other areas of the pelvis.
  • The cancer is large.

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