Lymph node involvement has been shown to be one of the most relevant prognostic factors in a variety of malignancies; this is also true of endometrial cancer. The determination of the lymph node status is crucial in order to establish the tumor stage, and to consider adjuvant treatment. A wide range of surgical staging practices are currently used for the treatment of endometrial cancer. The necessity and extent of lymph node dissection is an ongoing controversial issue in gynecological oncology. Lymph node surgery in endometrial cancer is technically challenging, and can be time consuming because of the topographic complexity of lymphatic drainage as such, and the fact that the lymph nodes are directly adjacent to both blood vessels and nerves. Therefore, profound and exact knowledge of the anatomy is essential. Sentinel lymph node mapping was recently introduced in surgical staging with the aim of reducing morbidity, whilst also obtaining useful prognostic information from a patient's lymph node status. The present review summarizes the current evidence on the role of lymph node surgery in endometrial cancer, focusing on the embryological, anatomical, and technical aspects.
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