Pelvic lymphadenectomy is associated with a significant risk of lower-limb lymphedema. In this proof-of-concept study, we evaluated the feasibility of identifying the lower-limb drainage nodes (LLDNs) during pelvic lymphadenectomy for endometrial cancer. Secondary objectives were to map lower-limb drainage and to assess the diagnostic value of our mapping technique.
This prospective study included patients with endometrial cancer requiring pelvic lymphadenectomy, without neoadjuvant radiotherapy or chemotherapy and without history of lower-limb surgery. A radio pharmaceutical was injected into both feet on the day before surgery. LLDNs were identified using preoperative lymphoscintigraphy and intraoperative isotopic probe detection, then removed before complete pelvic lymphadenectomy. LLDNs and pelvic lymphadenectomy specimens underwent separate histological analysis.
Of the 12 patients with early-stage endometrial cancer, 10 underwent preoperative lymphoscintigraphy, which consistently identified inguinal, femoral, and pelvic LLDNs (detection rate: 100%). The intraoperative detection rate was 83% (10/12). Median number of hot nodes per patient was 5 nodes (range: 3-7) on the right and 3 nodes (range: 2-6) on the left. Of 107 LLDNs, 106 were in the external iliac area, including 38 in the lateral group and 45 in the intermediate and medial