Diaphragmatic surgery during primary debulking in 89 patients with stage IIIB-IV epithelial ovarian cancer

Dimitrios Tsolakidis, F. Amant, T. Van Gorp, Karin Leunen, P. Neven, I. Vergote*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The aim of this study was to describe the role of diaphragmatic surgery in achieving optimal debulking in patients with advanced ovarian cancer and the assessment of the relative post-operative complications.Retrospective review was performed of medical records of 89 patients with epithelial ovarian cancer who underwent diaphragmatic surgery during their primary debulking surgery between September 1993 and December 2007. Four different approaches were performed: coagulation (group 1), stripping (group 2), combination stripping with coagulation (group 3) and diaphragm full thickness resection (group 4). Cytoreductive outcome, morbidity, overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) were analysed.Eight (8.9%) patients had FIGO stage IIIB, 64 (72%) stage IIIC and 17 (19.1%) stage IV disease. In 20 patients (22%) the diaphragmatic disease was coagulated, in 31 patients (35%) was only stripped, in 31 patients (35%) a combination of these techniques was applied and in 7 (8%) the disease was resected with the adjacent infiltrated part of the diaphragm muscle and the pleura above it. Debulking to no residual tumor was achieved in 90%, 86%, 86% and 100% for groups 1, 2, 3 and 4 respectively. Median DFS was 15, 15, 17 and overall survival OS for groups 1, 2, and 3 was 40, 42, and 50 months respectively and was not yet reached for group 4. Minor and major complications were comparable among the groups. Pleural effusion was the most frequent associated complication and chest tube placement (17%) or thoracocentesis (12%) was necessary for the relief of respiratory distress. The perioperative mortality rate was 0%. The majority of cases were treated in the last five years of our 15-year experience.Diaphragmatic surgery increases the rates of optimal primary debulking surgery and improves survival with an acceptable and manageable morbidity rate. In patients with thick (>0.3 cm) or large (>4 cm) lesions stripping the diaphragm or full thickness resection of the diaphragmatic muscle is preferred.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489-496
JournalGynecologic Oncology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010


  • Primary debulking
  • Diaphragm
  • Coagulation
  • Stripping
  • Resection
  • Surgery
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Ovarian neoplasms

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