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Sexual Function after Radical Hysterectomy for Early-Stage Cervical Cancer: Is There a Difference between Laparoscopy and Laparotomy?


Maurizio Serati, MD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Insubria, Del Ponte Hospital, p.zza biroldi 1, Varese 21100, Italy. Tel: 00393389098353; Fax: 0039332299307; E-mail:


Introduction.  Surgical treatment for cervical cancer is associated with a high rate of late postoperative complications, and in particular with sexual dysfunction.

Aim.  To evaluate sexual function in women who underwent radical hysterectomy (RH), in comparison with a control group of healthy women, using a validated questionnaire (Female Sexual Function Index [FSFI]). Then we tried to evaluate the possible differences between laparoscopic RH and abdominal RH in terms of their impact on sexuality.

Methods.  Consecutive sexually active women, who underwent RH for the treatment of early-stage cervical cancer between 2003 and 2007, were enrolled in this study (cases) and divided into two groups, according to the surgical approach. All women were administered the FSFI. The results of this questionnaire were compared between patients who underwent laparoscopic RH (LPS group) vs. women who underwent laparotomic RH (LPT group). The cases of RH were also compared with a control group of healthy women, who were referred to our outpatient clinic for a routine gynecologic evaluation.

Main Outcome Measures.  FSFI questionnaire on six domains of female sexuality (desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction, pain).

Results.  A total of 38 patients were included. We also enrolled 35 women as healthy controls. FSFI score was significantly higher in the healthy controls vs. the cases of RH. In the LPS group, the total score and all the domains of the FSFI were lower in comparison with the healthy controls, whereas three of the six domains (arousal, lubrication, orgasm) and the total score of FSFI were lower in the LPT group if compared with the controls. There were no significant differences between LPS and LPT group.

Conclusions.  RH worsens sexual function, regardless of the type of surgical approach. In our experience, laparoscopy did not show any benefit on women's sexuality over the abdominal surgery for cervical cancer. Serati M, Salvatore S, Uccella S, Laterza RM, Cromi A, Ghezzi F, and Bolis P. Sexual function after radical hysterectomy for early-stage cervical cancer: Is there a difference between laparoscopy and laparotomy? J Sex Med 2009;6:2516–2522.