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Pediatr Surg Int. 2006 May;22(5):405-8. Epub 2006 Mar 7.

The use of laparoscopy in intersex patients.

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  • 1Department of Urology, Shaare Zedek Medical Centre, P.O. Box 3235, 91031 Jerusalem, Israel. bchertin@yahoo.com


The management of intersex patients is a challenge. Although in the majority of patients the diagnosis may be made on the basis of cytogenetic and biochemical tests, there is a selective group of patients with difficulties in the establishment of final diagnosis and gender assignment. Since laparoscopy has been used in the management of impalpable gonads in the normal male population, it may be an alternative method for the diagnosis and surgical management of intersex patients. Thus we have evaluated our experience with laparoscopy in intersex population. Over the last 10 years (1995-2005) more than 80 intersex patients underwent surgical correction at our department. Out of those, 14 patients with a median age of 3 years (range 2-18 years) underwent laparoscopic surgery. Laparoscopic gonadectomy with subsequent estrogen replacement was performed following gonadal biopsy in five patients with androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS). In three patients with mixed gonadal dysgenesis (MGD) gonadal biopsy was performed. In two of those the initial diagnosis was changed to true hermaphroditism, and they underwent removal of ovotestis from one side and orchidopexy of the normal testis on the other. In one patient with MGD, timed gonadectomy following laparoscopic biopsy was performed due to malignant potential of the streak gonads. In two patients with persistent müllerian duct syndrome (PMDS), laparoscopic orchidopexy was performed following gonadal biopsy. Three patients with total gonadal dysgenesis (TGD) underwent laparoscopic gonadectomy and one with true hermaphroditism underwent laparoscopic biopsy followed by bilateral inguinal orchiectomy with preservation of the ovarian tissue. Our data show that the laparoscopic gonadal biopsy remains the only way to obtain morphologic gonadal structure and to establish a final diagnosis in doubtful cases. Magnification and easy access to the pelvic cavity allow removal of gonads or ductal structures with the advantages of minimally invasive procedure.

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