Treatment Outcomes in Patients With Symptomatic Lymphoceles Following Radical Prostatectomy Depend Upon Size and Presence of Infection

Jack R. Andrews, Ilya Sobol, Igor Frank, Matthew T. Gettman, R. Houston Thompson, R. Jeffrey Karnes, Stephen A. Boorjian, Matthew K. Tollefson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: To guide treatment decisions for symptomatic lymphoceles after radical prostatectomy. We examined our experience to create a treatment algorithm. Materials and Methods: We evaluated all patients that underwent radical prostatectomy at our institution from 2003 to 2012. Presenting signs, management and treatment outcomes were evaluated. Results: Of the 8081 patients who underwent radical prostatectomy from 2003 to 2012, we identified 123 (1.5%) patients who developed a symptomatic lymphocele, 70 sterile and 53 infected. Percutaneous aspiration was performed in 26 of 123 (21%) patients, of those, 100% recurred. A drain was placed in 86 of 123 (70%) patients for a median of 13 vs 33 days for the infected and sterile lymphocele groups, respectively (P <.001). The median duration of drainage for sterile lymphoceles was 15 vs 58 days for lymphoceles <10 cm vs ≥10 cm (P <.001). Percutaneous drainage was successful in 93% and 86% of patients with infected and sterile lymphoceles, respectively. Laparoscopic unroofing was performed in 18 sterile lymphocele patients (15%) with a success rate of 94%. Conclusion: Aspiration of symptomatic lymphoceles should be reserved for diagnostic purposes due to a high risk of recurrence. Infected lymphoceles are optimally treated with drain placement and antibiotics, and have excellent resolution rates. While sterile lymphoceles <10 cm can be successfully managed with drain placement, if drainage and sclerotherapy fail, laparoscopic unroofing should be considered. For patients with sterile lymphoceles ≥10 cm there should be a shared decision-making process to weigh the risk of a protracted course if a drain is utilized vs upfront laparoscopic unroofing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-185
Number of pages5
StatePublished - Sep 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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