Should laparoscopic lymph node biopsy be the preferred diagnostic modality for isolated abdominal lymphadenopathy?

R. W.D. Gilbert, B. H. Bird, M. G. Murphy, C. J. O’Boyle


Background Isolated abdominal lymphadenopathy is frequently detected, but often challenging to diagnose. To obtain a tissue diagnosis, percutaneous biopsy (pb) or laparoscopic biopsy (lb) is often undertaken. The safety profiles and diagnostic accuracy of pb and lb within the abdomen are both poorly defined.

Methods In this retrospective analysis, we identified all patients who underwent lb or pb for isolated abdominal lymphadenopathy at our institute during 2008–2016.

Results Of 62 patients who underwent nodal biopsy for isolated abdominal lymphadenopathy, 33 underwent lb and 29 underwent pb. For the 33 patients who underwent lb, the procedure was diagnostic in 100% of cases; for the 29 who underwent pb, the procedure was diagnostic in 18 cases (62.1%). Both procedures were safe, with similar complication rates (6.0% for lb; 7.0% for pb).

Conclusions Our results establish that lb and pb are both safe and reliable in the setting of isolated abdominal lymphadenopathy. We also demonstrate that each procedure has situational advantages. A pb should be considered to be the upfront diagnostic modality, particularly when anatomic or disease factors favour its success. In situations in which it is felt that pb cannot safely access the lymphadenopathy or in disease states in which the yield of a core biopsy will be insufficient, lb should be strongly considered. Examples include extra-retroperitoneal lymphadenopathy and cases of suspected lymphoma.


Biopsy; Laparoscopy; Lymph Nodes; Lymphoma; Medical Oncology; Surgical Oncology


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ISSN: 1198-0052 (Print) ISSN: 1718-7729 (Online)