When is bilateral pelvic lymphadenectomy (PLND) indicated in the treatment of bladder cancer?

Updated: Feb 23, 2021
  • Author: Kara N Babaian, MD, FACS; Chief Editor: Bradley Fields Schwartz, DO, FACS  more...
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Approximately 25% of patients undergoing radical cystectomy have lymph node metastases at the time of surgery. Bilateral pelvic lymphadenectomy (PLND) should be performed in conjunction with radical cystoprostatectomy and anterior pelvic exenteration. PLND adds prognostic information by appropriately staging the patient and may confer a therapeutic benefit. Furthermore, AUA guidelines recommend a standard lymphadenectomy, which includes the external and internal iliac and obturator lymph nodes. 

PLND can be performed in a standard or an extended version. The boundaries of a standard PLND include the bifurcation of the common iliac artery and vein superiorly, the genitofemoral nerve laterally, the obturator fossa posteriorly, and the circumflex iliac vein (or node of Cloquet) inferiorly.

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