Detection of Aerosolized Cells during Carbon Dioxide Laparoscopy

Sayeed Ikramuddin, Joel Lucas, E. Christopher Ellison, William J. Schirmer, W. Scott Melvin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Laparoscopic surgery for malignancy has been complicated by port-site recurrences. The exact mechanism has yet to be defined. In vitro studies suggest that carbon dioxide-induced tumor cell aerosolization may play a role. We have attempted to document this in a human model. Patients scheduled for elective laparoscopy underwent port placement and abdominal insufflation with carbon dioxide. A suction trap was then filled with 40 cc of normal saline solution and attached to an insufflation site on the port. The carbon dioxide effluent was directed through the saline. The specimen was concentrated, resuspended, and transferred to a slide. A Papanicolaou stain was used. Thirty-five specimens were obtained. Fifteen patients (37%) had malignant disease, which was metastatic in eight. Five patients had carcinomatosis. In two of those with carcinomatosis, staining revealed a large number of malignant cells. Malignant cells were not found in any other patients. In two patients, however, aerosolized mesothelial cells were identified. Follow-up ranged from 2 to 7 months. One patient who displayed cellular aerosolization developed a port-site recurrence. We conclude that malignant cells are aerosolized but only during laparoscopy in the presence of carcinomatosis. It is unlikely that tumor cell aerosolization contributes significantly to port-site metastasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)580-584
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Gastrointestinal Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Aerosolization
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Laparoscopy
  • Pneumoperitoneum
  • Tumor cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Gastroenterology


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