Technical pro & cons of the laparoscopic lymphadenectomy
Laparoscopy has been introduced in treatment of gastric cancer to reduce surgical trauma and to improve post-operative functional recovery. Most of international guidelines allow the use of this minimally invasive approach in general surgical practice only in clinical stage I. One of the most important concerns in fact is the feasibility of D2 lymphadenectomy through laparoscopy. Reduced numbers of harvested lymph nodes have been reported, particularly in stations with a more difficult access. Nevertheless subsequent papers reported adequate numbers of total number of nodes retrieved, even with D2 dissection and even in complex stations but results from randomized controlled trials still lack. Laparoscopic approach has been proven safe and effective also in extremely complex maneuvers as spleen-preserving retropancreatic lymphadenectomy. The minimally invasive approach in D2 lymphadenectomy seems to be associated to comparable incidence of specific complications as compared to open surgery. The use of laparoscopy has extended the operating time but has reduced the blood loss. Because of high complexity of this kind surgery, laparoscopic gastric surgery for cancer should be done only in referral centers.