Abstract. Kenter GG, Heintz APM. Surgical treatment of low stage cervical carcinoma: Back to the old days?
Radical hysterectomies for the treatment of cervical carcinoma are being performed laparoscopically by some surgeons. Others combine the laparoscopic lymphadenectomy with a radical vaginal hysterectomy or a radical trachelectomy, like in the Schauta procedure. In this way the procedure resembles the AVRUEL-procedure (Abdominal Vaginal Radical Uterus Extirpation with transperitoneal Lymphadenectomy), as developed in 1957 by Sindram who combined the Wertheim and the Schauta procedure together with abdominal lymphadenectomy in one single operation. Because of the high complication rate in the form of voiding problems and sexual impairment caused by the Schauta part, this operation is no longer performed. In order to pay attention to the morbidity associated in the past with the combined abdomino-vaginal approach compared to the single abdominal approach, we reassembled the data of several large Dutch centers where patients were treated either by the AVRUEL or the abdominal radical hysterectomy.
A total of 730 patients underwent an AVRUEL procedure, all carried out between 1957 and 1981. Fistulas occurred in 57 patients (7.8%), long-term urologic complications in 233 patients (32%), and sexual dysfunction in 71 (9.7%) were found. A total of 928 patients underwent an abdominal radical hysterectomy, of whom in 511 cases the complication rates have been described. Twelve fistulas occurred (2%), long-term micturition problems in 55 (10%), and sexual problems in 11 (2%). There was no difference in 5-year survival rates in both groups. From the abovementioned data it is clear, that returning to the old days in terms of a re-introduction of the Schauta procedure is not to be preferred. In order to conclude if the laparoscopically assisted radical vaginal hysterectomy or the trachelectomy are an improvement, they should be carried out according to clearly defined prospective protocols in which data can be compared to those of other techniques with special attention to late complications including micturition and sexual sequelae.