Wound complications were investigated in 100 patients undergoing chemotherapy for epithelial ovarian cancer and compared with wound complications in patients with other gynecologic malignancy who did not receive chemotherapy but were operated on by the same gynecologic oncologists. The incidence of wound complications in the chemotherapy-treated population was 11%. Complications developed with equal frequency regardless of when postoperative chemotherapy was initiated. Thus, chemotherapy did not increase the risk of wound complications despite efforts to begin chemotherapy as soon as possible after cytoreductive surgery. Low postoperative albumin levels (P < .01), postoperative hemoglobin of 10 g/dL or less (P < .02), advanced stage of disease (P < .004), and electrocautery use (P < .05) were all risk factors for development of wound complications, whereas the frequency of bowel resection and type of fascial or skin closure did not adversely influence the risk. Patients who received chemotherapy and developed wound breakdown actually healed faster than our control population. They healed at the same rate as did obstetric and gynecologic patients from the literature. Because delays in administering chemotherapy postoperatively have been associated with decreased survival, we recommend that chemotherapy for advanced-stage epithelial cancer not be delayed solely because of concern for wound healing.
© 1992 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists