Inguinofemoral dissection for carcinoma of the vulva: effect of modifications of extent and technique on morbidity and survival

J Am Coll Surg. 2003 Mar;196(3):442-50. doi: 10.1016/S1072-7515(02)01895-1.


Background: The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of modifications of extent (medial inguinal and medial femoral lymphadenectomy, inguinal lymphadenectomy, inguinal and medial femoral lymphadenectomy, and inguinofemoral lymphadenectomy) and surgical technique of lymphadenectomy (including sartorius transposition, preservation of the fascia lata, and preservation of the saphenous vein) on morbidity, groin recurrence, and survival in patients with vulvar carcinoma.

Study design: A retrospective review of 194 patients with primary squamous cell cancer of the vulva was conducted. Clinical, surgical, histopathologic, postoperative short- and longterm complications, and followup data were collected from patient records.

Results: Inguinal lymphadenectomy and medial inguinal and medial femoral lymphadenectomy produced about half fewer nodes than did other surgical procedures. On the other hand, number of lymph nodes removed did not differ notably between inguinofemoral lymphadenectomy and inguinal and medial femoral lymphadenectomy. Logistic regression showed that obesity was associated with increased risk of cellulitis. Age greater than 70, obesity, and extent of lymphadenectomy increased wound breakdown risk. Factors associated with leg edema persisting for more than 6 months were: extent of lymphadenectomy, sartorius transposition, and adjuvant irradiation of groin area. With a mean followup time of 38 months, neither groin recurrence rate nor disease-specific survival markedly differed according to technique of lymphadenectomy.

Conclusion: Techniques of lymphadenectomy with preservation of fascia lata and saphenous vein are associated with a decreased risk of postoperative morbidity without jeopardizing outcomes.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / secondary
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / surgery*
  • Cellulitis / etiology
  • Female
  • Groin / blood supply
  • Groin / surgery
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Lymph Node Excision / adverse effects*
  • Lymph Node Excision / methods*
  • Lymphedema / etiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Saphenous Vein / surgery
  • Surgical Wound Dehiscence / etiology
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vulvar Neoplasms / pathology
  • Vulvar Neoplasms / surgery*