Pelvic exenteration is a surgical procedure first described by Brunschwig in 1948 as a curative or palliative treatment for pelvic and perineal tumors. It is actually a radical operation, involving en bloc resection of pelvic organs, including reproductive structures, bladder, and rectosigmoid. In patients with recurrent cervical and vaginal malignancy, it is associated with a 5-year survival of more than 50%. In spite of advances in surgical management, consequences such as stomas, are still frequently unavoidable for radical tumor excision. Most candidates for this procedure have been diagnosed with recurrent cervical cancer that has previously been treated with surgery and radiation, or radiation alone. Complications of pelvic exenteration are more severe than those of standard resection of a colorectal carcinoma, so it is not commonly performed, including wound infection, wound dehiscence (also described as burst abdomen) the creation of fistulae (perineal-fecal, uretero-vaginal, between conduit and perineal wound), urinary tract infections, perineal hernias and intestinal obstruction. Patients need to be carefully selected and counseled about risks and long-term issues related to the surgery. A comprehensive evaluation is required in order to exclude unresectable or metastatic disease. Evolution of the technique through laparoscopy and minimally invasive surgery may result in a reduction of morbidity and mortality.
Part of the book: Approaches to Hysterectomy