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Minerva Ginecologica 2006 June;58(3):239-44


language: English

Palliative surgery for recurrent bowel obstruction due to advanced ovarian cancer

Caprotti R. 1, Bonardi C. 2, Crippa S. 1, Mussi C. 3, Angelini C. 1, Uggeri F. 1

1 Department of Surgery, San Gerardo Hospital University of Milan-Bicocca Monza, Milan, Italy 2 Department of Gynecology, San Gerardo Hospital University of Milan-Bicocca, Monza, Milan, Italy 3 Sarcoma Unit National Cancer Institute, Milan, Italy


Aim. Intestinal obstruction is a frequent event in patients affected by ovarian carcinoma. Little data on repeat palliative surgery for recurrent bowel obstruction are available. The aim of this study was to analyze postoperative and long term outcomes of ovarian cancer patients who underwent reoperation for recurrent intestinal obstruction.
Methods. We retrospectively evaluated the records of these patients treated at our Depart-ment between 1992 and 2002.
Results. Nine women with a mean age of 56 years (range 37-72) were identified. All patients had undergone previous abdominal surgery for bowel obstruction from ovarian cancer. All patients underwent exploratory laparotomy. In 4 patients (Group A) because of advanced disease, only exploratory surgery wascarried out. A surgical correction was achieved in the other 5 patients (Group B), but only 3 patients had a successful palliation, defined as the ability to tolerate an oral intake for at least 60 days postoperatively. Postoperative mortality was nil, morbidity was 44.4%; particularly 2 patients developed an enterocutaneous fistula. Mean survival of Group A and B patients were 36.7 and 96.2 days respectively. The 3 successful palliated patients died of disease after 3.5, 4 and 5 months, in 2 cases for recurrent bowel obstruction.
Conclusion. Repeat surgery for recurrent bowel obstruction in advanced ovarian carcinoma may achieve successful palliation in few cases and is associated with high postoperative morbidity and limited survival. In these patients non surgical approaches based on medical treatment, percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy and stent placement should be considered.

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