Vaginal construction using sigmoid colon in children and young adults

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To evaluate the age at which patients who required vaginal replacement (an uncommon procedure in children) were diagnosed, and the cause of their anomaly, and to relate these variables to the surgical outcome.

PATIENTS AND METHODS

Patients who had vaginal replacement at the author's institution between 1990 and 2002 were reviewed retrospectively. Depending on the age at reconstructive surgery, patients were divided into pre- and postpubertal groups.

RESULTS

A neovagina was constructed in 23 patients during the study period; sigmoid colon was used in 20 but not in two patients with cloacal exstrophy and in one with Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster–Hauser syndrome (MRKHS). These cases were excluded from the analysis of outcomes and complications. Group 1 comprised patients diagnosed and treated before puberty and group 2 those diagnosed and/or treated afterward. In group 1 the presenting diagnoses included androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS) in six patients, MRKHS in two, cloacal exstrophy in two, vaginal tumour in one, Müllerian duct renal aplasia cervicothoracic somite dysplasia, vertebral abnormalities, anal atresia, cardiac anomalies, tracheo-oesophageal fistula, and/or oesophageal atresia, renal abnormalities and limb defects syndromes in one each. In group 2 the presenting diagnoses included MRKHS in seven, AIS in two, and congenital adrenal hyperplasia in one. Complications included superficial wound infection (two patients), recurrent introital stenosis, and blind loop mucocele, complete stenosis of perineal neovaginal opening (one each) and dyspareunia in three. Neither age nor pelvic habitus (android vs gynaecoid) influenced the outcome, and the cosmetic results were excellent in all the patients.

CONCLUSION

Isolated sigmoid neovaginal construction appears to be applicable to many diagnoses and in patients at any age. Although an android pelvis can present technical challenges, in this experience it was not associated with a greater complication rate. The long-term satisfaction with the sigmoid neovagina for intercourse, especially in those constructed before puberty, still requires long-term evaluation.

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