Laser Excisional Treatment for Vaginal Intraepithelial Neoplasia to Exclude Invasion: What Is the Risk of Complications?

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Abstract

Objective

We undertook a retrospective analysis of the incidence of complications of carbon dioxide (CO2) laser excision for high-grade vaginal intraepithelial neoplasia (HG-VaIN).

Materials and Methods

Retrospective large case series on 128 CO2 laser excisions for HG-VaIN in 106 women treated at the Department of Gynecologic Oncology, Oncologic Referral Center, Aviano, Italy. These procedures were performed under local anesthesia with a 20-W continuous laser beam focused to a 0.2-mm spot size. Complications were defined as “minor” when limited to vagina, and “major” when surrounding organs were injured or the vaginal vault was opened.

Materials and Methods

To identify possible factors associated with surgical complications, we performed a univariate analysis with the t test for continuous variables and χ2 or Fisher exact test for qualitative variables as appropriate.

Results

The overall rate of complication was 7.8% (10/128); nine of them were vaginal bleeding, and only one (0.8%) was a major complication with vaginal vault perforation.

Results

A greater number of previous destructive treatments and of two or more previous laser vaginal excisional treatments was present in patients with complications compared with ones without complications (10% vs 3.9 %, p = .92, and 30% vs 15.2%, p = .44, respectively), although these differences were not statistically significant. A total of 10.5% (6/57) of occult vaginal cancer was detected in women with initial diagnosis of VaIN3 (HG-VaIN) on biopsy.

Conclusions

Carbon dioxide laser excision for HG-VaIN seems to be a safe approach with low rate of complications, probably because of the better accuracy achieved by CO2 laser resections, and permits diagnosis of occult invasive disease.

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