Diathermy-induced injury may affect detection of occult tubal lesions at risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy.
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BACKGROUND: Electrosurgery-induced tubal thermal injury obscures cellular detail and hampers histomorphological assessment for occult pathology. OBJECTIVE: The objectives of this study were to report on diathermy-related thermal injuries to the fallopian tube observed at RRSO and explore its potential impact on the detection of occult tubal epithelial lesions. DESIGN: This study was composed of high-risk women from breast and/or ovarian cancer families attending a tertiary high-risk familial gynecologic cancer clinic. This was a retrospective case-control analysis of high-risk women who underwent RRSO. Cases were all women detected to have occult lesions (tubal atypia/carcinoma in situ/cancer) between January 2005 and December 2010. Control subjects were all women with normal tubal/ovarian histology between August 2006 and December 2007. METHODS: Two pathologists performed histopathologic assessment for grade of thermal injury. Tubal diathermy injury rates were compared between cases and controls. Statistical analysis was undertaken using SPSS version 18. The Mann-Whitney U test compared age distributions; χ/Fisher tests, the difference between proportions, and γ test, the difference in ordinal variables between the groups. RESULTS: A novel tubal thermal index to describe the severity of injury is reported. Lack of fimbrial thermal injury is twice as likely (odds ratio, 2.04; 95% confidence interval, 1.06-3.92) to be associated with detection of occult tubal pathology, whereas isthmic injury does not affect detection rate (P = 0.744). The groups were comparable with respect to age at RRSO (P = 0.531) and the presence of BRCA mutations (P = 0.192). CONCLUSIONS: This report highlights the potential impact of electrosurgical thermal injury on detection of occult tubal pathology following RRSO. It is important for surgeons to avoid thermal injury to the distal end of the tube.