BACKGROUND: Complete encasement of the inferior vena cava by retroperitoneal tumors is rare. Although replacement of the vena cava has been considered for various conditions in adults, it is rarely used in children except for challenging resections and as a last chance approach - often aiming more at debulking than cure.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: From January 2009 to February 2017, 4 patients (2 adrenal neuroblastomas, 1 renal cell carcinoma, 1 infantile fibrosarcoma) underwent elective en-bloc resection of tumor and of the infrahepatic portion of the inferior vena cava (IVC), with planned IVC prosthetic replacement. In three cases a portion of the left renal vein had to be resected as well, with the vein reanastomosed onto the prosthesis, and a concomitant auto-transplantation of the right kidney was associated in one neuroblastoma patient.
RESULTS: All patients had an uncomplicated postoperative course. In one patient, the prosthetic conduit is patent at long-term (43 months), while the middle portion of the prosthesis did eventually thrombose at mid-term after surgery in the three others - with no related symptoms. Interestingly, all renal venous reconstructions remain patent. Three patients (2 neuroblastomas and 1 infantile fibrosarcoma) are alive and disease-free at 43, 74 and 108 months after surgery, respectively. One patient with renal cell carcinoma died of recurrence of the disease 21 months after surgery.
CONCLUSION: Resection and reconstruction of the vena cava, including the renal vein portion, can be considered and planned electively in case of tumoral encasement. This strategy is associated with good tolerance of the operation, low morbidity and satisfactory long-term function, even in cases with progressive and/or secondary partial thrombosis.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: IV.