Laparoscopic port-site metastases: Etiology and prevention

Pedro T. Ramirez, Judith K. Wolf, Charles Levenback

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

145 Scopus citations


Objective. The purpose of this article is to summarize current hypotheses for the possible sources of laparoscopic port-site metastasis, to review the results of experimental models that support such hypotheses, and to discuss the potential options for preventing these metastases. Methods. We performed a Medline search to identify in vitro and in vivo studies and clinical trials that analyzed port-site metastases associated with laparoscopic surgery. We report the incidence of port-site metastases and causative factors associated with this condition. Results. The estimated incidence of port-site metastases in all patients undergoing laparoscopic surgery for malignant disease is approximately 1-2%. Multiple factors are associated with this complication. Among the most common proposed etiologies are the wound implantations caused by the surgical technique and instrumentation; the leakage of insufflation gas through the ports, known as the "chimney effect"; and the impact of pneumoperitoneum on local immune reactions. Several preventive measures, have been suggested, including careful patient selection, lavage of the peritoneal cavity as well as of the port wounds with cytotoxic agents, and modifications of surgical technique. Conclusions. Only through the results of well-conducted large multi-institutional prospective randomized trials will we learn not only the true incidence of port-site metastases, but also the potential factors that lead to the occurrence of this complication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-189
Number of pages11
JournalGynecologic oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 1 2003


  • Laparoscopy
  • Oncology
  • Port-site metastases
  • Review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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