Objectives: To clarify the anatomy necessary for the nerve sparing Okabayashi's radical hysterectomy, we meticulously separated the blood vessels and connective tissues to preserve the pelvic splanchnic nerve, the hypogastric nerve, and the bladder branch of the inferior hypogastric plexus under magnification (x2.5) during the Okabayashi radical hysterectomy.
Methods: Twenty-four patients (FIGO stage IB, n=22, and stage IIA, n=2) underwent meticulous nerve sparing radical hysterectomy during 2004 to 2006. Postoperative assessment of bladder function consisted of the time to (a) achieve a postvoid residual urine volume (PVR) less than 50 ml, (b) obtain a sensation of bladder fullness, and (c) obtain satisfaction of micturition.
Results: Isolation of the deep uterine vein could preserve one of the branches of the pelvic splanchnic nerve. The hypogastric nerve in the lateral rectal wall was isolated to the inferior hypogastric plexus. During the division of the posterior leaf of the vesicouterine ligament (VUL), isolation of the inferior vesical vein could reveal the bladder branch from the inferior hypogastric plexus. Only the uterine branch from the inferior hypogastric plexus was isolated and divided. Then, the T-shaped nerve plane consisting of the hypogastric nerve, the pelvic splanchnic nerve and the bladder branch from the inferior hypogastric plexus is preserved. Urinary functions: (a) 11 out of 24 patients had measured PVR of less than 50 ml by postoperative day (POD) 14 and all patients had achieved this by day 21 (mean POD: 14.64+/-2.04). (b) Twenty-two out of 24 patients reported a sensation of bladder fullness by POD 14 and all by POD 21 (mean POD: 11.25+/-1.78). (c) Seventeen out of 24 patients reported satisfaction of micturition by POD 14 and all by POD 21 (mean POD: 12.34+/-2.32).
Conclusion: In order to accomplish the nerve sparing Okabayashi's radical hysterectomy, it is necessary to meticulously divide the posterior leaf of the vesicouterine ligament. By the separation of the inferior vesical vein in the posterior leaf of the vesicouterine ligament, the bladder branch from the inferior hypogastric plexus can be identified and preserved. All patients recovered their urinary function completely by POD 21.