Complications of primary retroperitoneal lymph node dissection

J. Baniel, R. S. Foster, R. G. Rowland, R. Bihrle, J. P. Donohue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

146 Scopus citations


The surgical morbidity in 478 patients who underwent primary retroperitoneal lymphadenectomy for clinical stages I and II nonseminomatous testicular cancer from 1982 to 1992 was reviewed. There were 54 complications in 51 patients (10.6%) and no operative related mortality. Superficial wound infection was the most frequent complication, comprising 45% of the total number of complications. Most major complications were related to small bowel obstruction and atelectasis. No complications caused permanent disability. The complication rate was less in patients who underwent a modified unilateral procedure (9.4%) than in those who underwent bilateral dissection (19.3%). Complications were significantly less with procedures done during the latter 6 years of the study (1987 to 1992). The ejaculation rate of patients undergoing a nerve sparing procedure was 98%, which reflects the increase in experience gained with the technique of nerve sparing modified unilateral dissection for early stage testicular cancer. This study reinforces the view that primary retroperitoneal lymph node dissection is an operation with minimal morbidity and no long-term effects. Furthermore, this study serves as the basis for cost-benefit and risk-benefit analyses of primary retroperitoneal lymph node dissection in low stage testicular cancer, which can be set against surveillance and primary chemotherapy programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)424-427
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Urology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994


  • complications
  • lymph node excision
  • testicular neoplasms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology

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