Survey among ESGE members on leiomyosarcoma morcellation incidence

Vasilios Tanos, Hans Brölmann, Rudi Leon DeWilde, Peter O’Donovan, Elina Symeonidou, Rudi Campo

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Background: Increased awareness of leiomyosarcoma (LMS) risk during myomectomy or hysterectomy is essential. Objective and correct reasoning should prevail on any decision regarding the extent and type of surgery to employ. The anticipated risk of a sarcoma after myoma or uterus morcellation is low, and the frequency of leiomyosarcoma especially in women below the age of 40 is very rare. The prevalence data has a wide range and is therefore not reliable. The European Society of Gynaecological Endoscopy (ESGE) initiated a survey among its members looking into the frequency of morcellated leiomyosarcoma after endoscopic surgery. The ESGE Central office sent 3422 members a structured electronic questionnaire with multiple answer choices for each question. After 3 months, the answers were classified with a unique number in the EXCEL spread sheet. Statistical analysis was done using the SPSS v.18. Results: Out of 3422 members, 294 (8.6%) gynaecologists replied to the questionnaire; however, only 240 perform myomectomies by laparoscopy and hysteroscopy and hysterectomies by laparoscopy. The reported experience in performing laparoscopic myomectomy, hysteroscopic myomectomy, laparoscopic hysterectomy (LH), and laparoscopic subtotal hysterectomy (LSH) on an average was 10.8 (1–32) years. The vast majority of 67.1% had over 5 years of practice in laparoscopic surgery. The total number of 221 leiomyosarcoma was reported among 429,777 minimally invasive surgeries (laparoscopic and hysteroscopic myomectomies and LH and LSH), performed by all doctors in their lifetime. The overall reported sarcoma risk of all types of endoscopic myoma surgeries has been estimated to be 1.5% of operations which is very rare. Categorizing by type, 57 (0.06%) LMS were operated by laparoscopic myomectomy and 54 (0.07%) by hysteroscopic myomectomy, while 38 (0.13%) leiomyosarcoma operated by laparoscopic subtotal hysterectomy and 72 (0.31%) by laparoscopic hysterectomy. The probability of a sarcoma after morcellation to be falsely diagnosed by histopathology as a benign tumour and later identified as a sarcoma in a later examination has been reported and calculated to be 0.2%. The low risk of a sarcoma is also reflected by the small number of surgeries, where only 32 doctors reported that they operated once, 29 twice, and 18 operated on 3–10 sarcomas by laparoscopy during their lifetime. Conclusion: The survey demonstrated that myomectomy by hysteroscopy or laparoscopy has similar risks of sarcoma with an estimated incidence of 0.07%, much lower than that by laparoscopic hysterectomy and subtotal hysterectomy. Hence, for young patients with myoma infertility problem and low risk for LMS, myomectomy by MIS can be the first option of treatment. The fact that only 12.5% (216/1728) of uterine sarcoma cases are operated laparoscopically demonstrates the surgeons’ awareness and alertness about LMS and the potential of spreading sarcomatous cells after myoma/uterus power morcellation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number25
JournalGynecological surgery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017


  • Laparoscopy
  • Leiomyoma uteri
  • Leiomyosarcoma
  • Leiomyosarcoma incidence
  • Morcellation
  • Power morcellation complication

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