Since operative evaluations of patients undergoing therapy for ovarian cancer are necessary, the laparoscope will continue to play a role in the management of these patients. However, the sensitivity of the laparoscope for detecting disease either prior to or at the completion of chemotherapy is significantly less than that of laparotomy, and therefore its utility must be more narrowly defined. The morbidity of laparoscopy is low when performed correctly and utilizing techniques to avoid bowel perforation. Most patients require only a brief hospitalization, and those who cannot medically tolerate an extensive laparotomy might be able to undergo a laparoscopy. The major limitations of laparoscopy are the inability to adequately inspect the peritoneal cavity and pelvis in at least one-quarter of patients because of extensive adhesions, to assess retroperitoneal lymph nodes in all patients, and to resect tumour masses necessary to cytoreduce the tumour prior to therapy. The successful performance of interval laparoscopy, however, is predictive of survival and can select a group of patients whose likelihood of recurrence is relatively low (30 per cent) after more than three years. The observation that the majority of patients who have a negative laparoscopy following six months of chemotherapy remain free of disease for several years, suggests that sensitive tumours are most likely to respond during the initial courses of chemotherapy, and that consideration should be given to briefer and more intensive courses of therapy prior to operative evaluation of the patients.
View details for Web of Science ID A1983RB66700005
View details for PubMedID 6225603