Laparoscopy-keyhole surgery has wrongly been blamed for spreading ovarian cancer, believe some surgeons.
Some had feared that the technique could rupture a tumour and so spread malignant cells to other parts of the body.
But very little evidence actually supports this hypothesis, says Jonathan Berek from the UCLA School of Medicine in Los Angeles.
One case occurred because the patient was suffering from a spreading cancer, anyway, Dr Berek argued. The patient died several months after laparoscopic surgery, during which a tumour was implanted into the abdominal wall (The Lancet, July 22, 1995).