Surgical management of intra-abdominal desmoid tumours

A. J. Smith, J. J. Lewis, N. B. Merchant, D. H.Y. Leung, J. M. Woodruff, M. F. Brennan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Scopus citations


Background: Intra-abdominal desmoids are uncommon neoplasms. The aggressive nature of these tumours and the potential for major morbidity secondary to resection can present a difficult surgical dilemma. Methods: Patients with histologically confirmed intra-abdominal desmoid tumours undergoing laparotomy were identified from a prospective database. Clinical features and outcomes in this group were evaluated. Results: The study group comprised 24 patients. Sixteen patients underwent complete resection of the tumour while eight had biopsy only, with or without intestinal bypass. Small intestinal resection was performed in 12 patients, including three who had a near-total enterectomy. Median follow-up was 62 months, with an actuarial overall survival rate of 73 per cent at 10 years. There was no difference in survival rate between completely resected and unresected patients (P = 0.73). There were seven deaths in the entire group, of which four were in those undergoing complete resection. Conclusion: Operation can cure patients with intra-abdominal desmoid rumours, but may result in significant morbidity, especially from loss of small intestine. No other therapy is a predictably good alternative to operation but the natural history of desmoids is often characterized by prolonged periods of stability or even regression. A period of watchful waiting, until significant symptoms develop, may be the most appropriate course in patients who risk mesenteric vascular injury or substantial enterectomy with attempts at resection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)608-613
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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