A Comparative Study of Video Endoscopic Inguinal Lymphadenectomy and Conventional Open Inguinal Lymphadenectomy for Treating Vulvar Cancer

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This study aims to compare the complications, oncological outcomes, cosmetic satisfaction, and quality of life experienced by women with vulvar cancer undergoing video endoscopic inguinal lymphadenectomy (VEIL) versus conventional open inguinal lymphadenectomy (COIL).

Patients and Methods

Forty-eight consecutive patients with vulvar cancer who underwent COIL (n = 27) or VEIL (n = 21) at the Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital of Fudan University, Shanghai, China between 2003 and 2016 were included in this retrospective cohort study. The perioperative data, postoperative complications, oncological outcomes, cosmetic satisfaction, and quality of life of the COIL and VEIL groups were compared.


Twenty patients (74.1%) in the COIL group and 19 patients (90.5%) in the VEIL group returned for follow-up after the operation. The median follow-up time was 73 months (8–162 months) for the COIL group and 28 months (8–58 months) for the VEIL group. The inguinal lymph node yield in the VEIL group was comparable with that in the COIL group (15 ± 5 vs 18 ± 6, P = 0.058). The VEIL and COIL groups had a similar 2-year recurrence rate (10.5% vs 10%, P = 0.957) and 2-year disease-specific survival rate (95.5% vs 93.3%, P = 0.724). The wound complication rate was significantly lower in the VEIL group than the COIL group (4.8% vs 55.6%, P = 0.000). The VEIL group had higher body image scores (16.27 ± 1.20 vs 13.16 ± 0.87, P < 0.0001) and cosmetic scores (20.13 ± 0.98 vs 16.92 ± 0.72, P < 0.0001) than the COIL group. The patients in the VEIL group had higher life quality scores on the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy—Vulvar questionnaire than those in the COIL group (165.9 ± 6.3 vs 160.5 ± 6.0, P = 0.026).


Compared with COIL, VEIL can effectively reduce postoperative wound complications and improve patients' cosmetic satisfaction and life quality without compromising therapeutic efficacy. Hence, we believe that VEIL is a good alternative to COIL for vulvar cancer patients when surgical expertise is available.

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