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Gynecol Oncol. 2004 Dec;95(3):655-61.

Laparoscopically assisted radical vaginal hysterectomy vs. radical abdominal hysterectomy for cervical cancer: a match controlled study.

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Northern Gynaecological Oncology Centre, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Gateshead NE9 6SX, United Kingdom.



The technical feasibility of laparoscopically assisted radical vaginal hysterectomy has been well described, but its advantages over the open technique remain largely unproven. We reviewed and compared our experiences with both approaches.


All patients undergoing laparoscopically assisted radical vaginal hysterectomy (LARVH) between 1996 and 2003 were identified and matched for age, FIGO stage, histological subtype and nodal metastases using a control group of women who underwent radical abdominal hysterectomy (RAH) during the same time period.


Fifty-seven women were listed for LARVH, resulting in five conversions. Fifty cases were matched successfully using the criteria above. The majority of cases were FIGO stage 1B1. Statistically significant differences (P < 0.05) were present when the following were compared for LARVH vs. RAH: duration of surgery (median 180 vs. 120 min), blood loss (median 350 vs. 875 ml), hospital stay (median 5 days vs. 8 days) and duration of continuous bladder catheterisation (median 3 days vs. 7 days). There were no statistically significant differences with regard to nodal yield, completeness of surgical margins or perioperative complication rate. Four major complications (8%, three cystotomies and one enterotomy) occurred in the LARVH group and three in the RAH group (6%, one pulmonary embolism, one ureteric injury and one major haemorrhage). Three women in LARVH group had seen a specialist regarding postoperative bladder dysfunction, versus 12 in the RAH group (P = 0.04). No patients in the LARVH group reported constipation requiring regular laxatives, versus six in the RAH group (P = 0.03). Median follow-up was 52 months for LARVH and 49 months for RAH. There was no significant difference between recurrence rates or overall survival (94% for LARVH vs. 96% for RAH).


Despite the inherent limitations of LARVH and its associated learning curve, the procedure conveys many advantages over the open technique in terms of blood loss, transfusion requirement and hospital stay. In addition, the incidence of postoperative bladder and bowel dysfunction appears low-suggesting improved quality of life-without compromising survival.

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