Objectives: To clarify the anatomy of the vesico-uterine ligament (VUL), we meticulously separated the VUL under magnification (x2.5) during Okabayashi's radical hysterectomy.
Methods: Fifty-nine patients (TNM nomenclature: pTIb: 39, pT2a: 5, pT2b: 7, after trans-arterial anticancer-drug infusion treatment for the cervical cancer: 8) underwent this meticulous operation. Blood loss was recorded at two separate time points: during the separation of the VUL and after removal of the uterus.
Results: After complete separation of the uterine artery and superficial uterine vein from the ureter, we could identify the genuine connective tissue of the anterior leaf of the VUL in which we isolate and divide a distinct bundle of blood vessels: the cervicovesical vessels that cross over the ureter from the bladder to the cervix. The remaining tissues in the anterior leaf is only avascular connective tissue. The posterior leaf of the VUL is the tissue residing under the ureter connecting the posterior wall of the bladder and the lateral cervix/upper lateral vagina. In the connective tissues, we identified the middle and inferior vesical veins connecting with the deep uterine vein. The division of these veins could separate the urinary bladder with ureters completely from the lateral cervix and upper vagina. The mean blood loss during the separation of the VUL was 20+/-10 g (N=59) and after radical hysterectomy was 189+/-91.6 g (N=59).
Conclusion: A precise network of blood vessels in the VUL is identified. The knowledge of this anatomy is important to perform radical hysterectomy.