Ovarian cancer is the sixth most common cancer among women. In addition to diagnosis and staging, primary surgery is performed to achieve optimal cytoreduction (surgical efforts aimed at removing the bulk of the tumour) as the amount of residual tumour is one of the most important prognostic factors for survival of women with epithelial ovarian cancer. An optimal outcome of cytoreductive surgery remains a subject of controversy to many practising gynae-oncologists. The Gynaecologic Oncology group (GOG) currently defines 'optimal' as having residual tumour nodules each measuring 1 cm or less in maximum diameter, with complete cytoreduction (microscopic disease) being the ideal surgical outcome. Although the size of residual tumour masses after surgery has been shown to be an important prognostic factor for advanced ovarian cancer, it is unclear whether it is the surgical procedure that is directly responsible for the superior outcome that is associated with less residual disease.