Objective: To describe the surgical technique of a subxiphoid approach to remove cardiophrenic lymph nodes in women with advanced ovarian cancer.
Material and methods: The first step is to dissect and separate the anterior insertions of the diaphragm at the xiphoid appendix. Thus, the parietal peritoneum and the upper fibres of the transversus abdominis muscle are incised. Then, the anteroinferior mediastinum is identified and dissected. Diaphragmatic deinsertion may be extended 5–7 cm laterally to the xiphoid appendix following the inferior costal margin according with the localization of the enlarged lymph nodes. Thus, the dissection of the anterolateral cardiophrenic space allows the identification of both pleura. In addition, the vertical dissection of the anterior cardiophrenic space allows the removal of enlarged lymph nodes. However, it is important to bear in mind at this time that the unintentional opening of the pleura is possible. To reduce this risk, a careful dissection of the anterior cardiophrenic fat tissue is essential. Moreover, a careful dissection will avoid damage at the left phrenic nerve as well as the left pericardiophrenic artery and vein. After removing the cardiophrenic fat tissue, the diaphragm is sutured at the lower costal margin by using separated stiches of absorbable 2-0 suture.
Conclusion: The subxiphoid approach to resect cardiophrenic lymph nodes is a feasible surgical technique. In addition, it reduces the possibility of opening the pleural cavity, while avoiding a diaphragmatic incision, in comparison with the standard trans-diaphragmatic surgical approach.