Long-term effects of neovaginal reconstruction with sigmoid loop technique on sexual function and self image in patients with gynecologic malignancies: results of a prospective study

Gynecol Oncol. 2008 Dec;111(3):400-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2008.09.018. Epub 2008 Oct 22.


Objective: We evaluated the long-term results of sigmoid vaginoplasty in women with gynecologic malignancies after radical pelvic surgery, with specific focus on safety and effects of the procedure on patients' sexuality and self image.

Methods: This prospective study included women with gynecologic malignancies who underwent partial or complete colpectomy as part of the cancer treatment. In all cases a pedicled sigmoid loop was used for the neovaginal reconstruction. Systematic clinical examination was performed and validated questionnaires about sexuality (Female Sexual Function Index), quality of life (SF-12) and susceptibility to depression (ADSk-15) were answered by all patients at the earliest 6 months after vaginoplasty.

Results: Seven patients with sigmoid vaginoplasty, recruited between 11/2003 and 02/2008, were evaluated in the present analysis. Mean patients age was 48+/-8.49 years. Mean neovaginal length was 6.4 cm (range: 2-12 cm). The mean Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI)-score of all patients was 16.6+/-12.6. In the subset of sexually active patients the mean FSFI-score was 22.5+/-9.4 higher. Regarding early operative morbidity and complications, sigmoid vaginal reconstruction appears to be a safe procedure, though in a long-term assessment 85% of the patients developed a vaginal stenosis with the need for operative bougienage.

Conclusions: The vaginal reconstruction using a sigmoid loop is a safe and well accepted procedure in patients with gynecologic malignancies. However lower sexuality scores seem to be achieved than in non-cancer patients after equivalent vaginoplasty. Cancer-related physical and psychological comorbidity seem to have negative effects on the overall outcome and patient's satisfaction.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female / surgery*
  • Gynecologic Surgical Procedures / adverse effects
  • Gynecologic Surgical Procedures / methods
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Plastic Surgery Procedures / adverse effects
  • Plastic Surgery Procedures / methods*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Self Concept
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Sexuality
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vagina / physiology
  • Vagina / surgery*