Starting a minimally invasive inguinal lymphadenectomy program: Initial learning experience and outcomes

Published:November 12, 2022DOI:



      There is promising data on minimally invasive inguinal lymphadenectomy indicating decreased wound complications compared with the standard open approach. We examined our institutional experience with starting a minimally invasive inguinal lymphadenectomy program.


      This is a retrospective case series of consecutive patients undergoing videoscopic minimally invasive inguinal lymphadenectomy from August 2017 to March 2022 by a single surgeon. Patients meeting criteria for inguinal lymphadenectomy were considered for minimally invasive inguinal lymphadenectomy unless there was skin involvement by tumor or bulky disease. Data collected included patient characteristics, primary cancer, surgery, and postoperative complications.


      There were 26 patients included. The mean age was 60.6 ± 16.2 years. Most patients were female (n = 17, 65.4%), and the primary diagnosis was melanoma (n = 21, 19.2%). In 6 cases (23.1%), minimally invasive inguinal lymphadenectomy was combined with deep pelvic node dissection, but most patients did not have a concurrent procedure (n = 15, 57.7%). The median operative time was 119.0 minutes (range, 89.0–160.0), or 130.5 minutes (range, 89.0–345.0) when including concurrent procedures. The mean number of nodes retrieved was 9.8 ± 3.7, with a positive node identified in 19 patients (73.1%) during minimally invasive inguinal lymphadenectomy. There were 12 (46.2%) patients experiencing at least one postoperative complication within 30 days of surgery, the most common being infection (n = 4, 15.4%). One patient required reoperation for infected hematoma washout. Postoperative intervention for seroma was undertaken in 3 patients (11.5%).


      Minimally invasive inguinal lymphadenectomy is a safe approach to inguinal lymph node dissection, in terms of node retrieval and postoperative complications, and can feasibly be adopted into practice with minimal learning curve.
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