A total of 710 patients underwent postchemotherapy retroperitoneal lymph-node dissection (RPLND) from 1965 to 1992. Ten patients, all with bulky disease, required aortic replacement either postoperatively (n=3) or during RPLND (n=7). The principal risk factor for aortic rupture after RPLND was an extended subadventitial aortic dissection made necessary by tumor fixation. Also, duodenal enterotomy or extensive violation of the bowel serosa was a further risk for aortoenteric fistula. Prospective aortic grafting may be indicated in the presence of these risk factors. In our four elective cases, there was no further vascular or bowel complication. Omental interposition further protects against fistula formation. Although rarely indicated except under the most extenuating circumstances, the exposure requirements of RPLND permit aortic grafting as a relatively straightforward procedure that is feasible and well tolerated in this small subset of patients.
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