The records of 50 consecutive patients who underwent staging laparotomy for Hodgkin's disease were reviewed. Preoperative clinical stages were as follows: stage I, 12 patients; stage II, 20 patients; and stage III, 18 patients. The accuracy of preoperative lymphangiography, confirmed pathologically, was 80 percent. Early experience with computed axial tomographic scanning is promising. The stages of 20 patients (40 percent) were changed by laparotomy, and their treatment was altered as a result. Fourteen patients were upstaged and 6 downstaged. Patients who were upstaged to stage IIIB or IV received chemotherapy; those downstaged to stage I or II received radiotherapy only. Sixty-seven percent of patients with preoperative constitutional symptoms (class B) had positive findings at laparotomy, compared with only 28 percent of patients without such symptoms (class A). Patients with mixed cellularity or lymphocyte-depleted histology were more likely to have positive findings at laparotomy. There were four complications and no operative deaths. We conclude that staging laparotomy retains a useful role in the diagnosis and management of Hodgkin's lymphoma.
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