Paragangliomas are rare tumors that arise from extra-adrenal chromaffin cells. These tumors arise from dispersed paraganglia that tend to be symmetrically distributed in close relation to the aorta and to the sympathetic nervous system. Paragangliomas have a higher malignancy potential than adrenal pheochromocytomas.
Laparoscopy has the advantage of optical magnification and provides better visualization of small vessels, which allows for meticulous dissection during tumor excision. Laparoscopic resections of such tumors have been described in isolated cases.
Material and methods
We present the case of a 16-year-old female patient who presents with repeated urinary tract infection. An ultrasound demonstrates the presence of a retropancreatic mass. The study was completed by abdominal CT-scan and PET-scan (123-MIBG) where a solid mass of 4.5cm in diameter, homogeneous, encapsulated, without calcifications, located between the third duodenal portion (which is displaced anteriorly) and the inferior vena cava from the level of the right renal vein to the level of the right renal lower pole, is found. The patient presents MIBG (metaiodobenzylguanidine) tracer uptake in the Iodine-123-MIBG scintigraphy, suggesting the diagnosis of adrenal medullary tumor. The hormonal study shows a significant increase in plasmatic normetanephrine (25 times the normal upper limit). A genetic study has found no mutation of the most frequent responsible genes.
Given radiological and hormonal findings, laparoscopic surgery is decided upon with suspected diagnosis of extra-adrenal paraganglioma.
In this video, we present a laparoscopic approach to this mass, using an 11mm optical trocar and four 5mm working trocars. As can be appreciated, a very careful dissection is carried out to separate the mass from adjacent structures, dissecting small vessels that drain directly into the inferior vena cava.
Final pathology reports a 5cm retroperitoneal paraganglioma, with vascular invasion. In the immunohistochemical study, cells are positive for Synaptophysin and Chromogranin A. The postoperative course was uneventful, and the patient was discharged on postoperative day 4.
The laparoscopic excision of paraganglioma is safe and feasible, reduces postoperative pain, facilitates early recovery, and shortens hospital stay as compared to open surgery.
As a general conclusion, it is essential to diagnose, localize, and treat paragangliomas, because of the potential cure of symptoms associated with functional tumors, prevention of a lethal hypertensive paroxysm, and early diagnosis of malignant tumors.
Laparoscopy has the advantage of optical magnification and provides better visualization of small vessels, which allows for meticulous dissection during tumor excision. Tumors located between major vessels rarely invade these vessels, but careful and meticulous dissection of the surrounding small vessels is necessary.
The laparoscopic excision of paraganglioma reduces postoperative pain, facilitates early recovery, and shortens hospital stay as compared to open surgery.