Is laparoscopically assisted radical vaginal hysterectomy for cervical carcinoma safe? A case control study with follow up


DJ Morgan, Specialist Registrar, 1 Penge Gardens, Stranmillis, Belfast BT9 5GA, Ireland. Email


Objective  To compare a new surgical approach, laparoscopically assisted radical vaginal hysterectomy (LARVH) with open radical hysterectomy in women with cervical cancer. Can selected women benefit from the minimally invasive approach without compromising safety (recurrence rate) and morbidity (complications)?

Design  Retrospective case control study.

Setting  A tertiary referral unit for gynaecological malignancies.

Population  Thirty women undergoing LARVH were included and compared with 30 women undergoing open radical surgery. The control group was matched for age, body mass index and disease stage.

Methods  Retrospective collection of data from patient files and follow up.

Main outcome measures  Recurrence rate, complication rate, hospital stay, nodal counts, blood loss, operating time.

Results  Recurrence rates were equal (6.7%). There was one death, in the LARVH group. Follow up was mean 31 months in the LARVH group and 30.9 months in the open group. Blood loss as measured by mean drop in haemoglobin was greater in the open group (2.03 versus 3.01 g/dl, P= 0.02). Transfusions were given in 40% of women in the open group and 16.7% in the LARVH group. Hospital stay was significantly less in the LARVH group (5.9 versus 7.8 nights, P= 0.003). Mean operating time was longer in the LARVH group (131 versus 187 minutes P= 0.0001). Mean nodal counts did not differ significantly (17.4 in open vs 14.8 in LARVH, P > 0.05). There were seven perioperative complications in the open group and four in the LARVH group. There have been two recurrences in each group (6.67%) at mean follow up of 31 (LARVH) and 30.9 (open) months.

Conclusions  The first 30 LARVH procedures performed in this unit are comparable in terms of safety (recurrence rate and complication rate) and economic factors (shorter hospital stay mitigating longer operating time). Further development of this technique is warranted.