Intestinal Surgery in Gynaecological Oncology



Summary: Over a 4-year-period, 117 patients had 139 intestinal operations performed in a gynaecological oncology unit. Most of the patients had gynaecological malignancy as the indication for their operation, but 18% had a gastrointestinal primary and 10% had benign pelvic conditions which required intestinal surgery. Most of the patients with malignancy had an ovarian primary cancer. The next most common primary site was the gastrointestinal tract and here carcinoma of the sigmoid colon was the most common. There were 102 large bowel and 36 small bowel operations. Sixteen patients had more than one intestinal procedure. The most common complication of the intestinal operations was prolonged ileus which occurred in 9 instances. Three patients required repeat laparotomy for postoperative bowel obstruction. There were 3 postoperative deaths occurring within 30 days. An assessment of the usefulness of preoperative investigations showed that there was a 10.3% false negative result reported from X-rays, scans or endoscopies. This factor makes it imperative that the surgeon operating on gynaecological malignancy should be capable of dealing with intestinal surgical procedures when required as it is not possible to rely on preoperative investigations to point out those that may require intestinal surgery.