A modified triple incision technique for women with locally advanced vulvar cancer: a description of the technique and outcomes

Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2012 Oct;164(2):185-90. doi: 10.1016/j.ejogrb.2012.05.035. Epub 2012 Jun 26.


Objective: Women with locally advanced vulvar carcinoma have an excellent chance of a cure by undergoing a radical vulvectomy with an "en bloc" inguinofemoral lymphadenectomy, but the morbidity associated this surgical approach is substantial. To achieve an outcome comparable with the traditional radical method in terms of oncologic safety, and an improved post-operative quality of life, we modified the classic triple-incision technique and suggested it as an alternative for these patients. The aim of this study was to report this new technique.

Study design: Between January 2004 and November 2009, 24 patients with clinical stage T2 (≥ 4 cm) or T3 invasive vulvar cancer underwent surgical treatment with our modified triple incision technique. Their clinical and surgical complications and follow-up data were retrospectively reviewed.

Results: The post-surgical complications were as follows: lymphoedema in 45.8%, wound breakdown in 20.8% and cellulitis in 8.3%. After a median follow-up of 35.5 months, three (12.5%) patients developed a recurrence in the skin bridge (2/24, 8.3%) or lungs (1/24, 4.2%). All patients suffering from skin bridge recurrences were salvaged by local re-resection. Four (16.7%) cases of death were noted: three (12.5%) patients died of non-cancer-related diseases and one (4.2%) died from a multifocal pulmonary metastasis; no evidence of vulvar or groin disease was observed at these patients' last follow-up.

Conclusion: The modified triple-incision technique described in this preliminary study appears to be safe, feasible and tolerable for patients with a locally advanced vulvar cancer, and offers an acceptable morbidity.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Carcinoma / pathology
  • Carcinoma / surgery*
  • China / epidemiology
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Inguinal Canal
  • Lymph Node Excision / adverse effects
  • Lymph Node Excision / methods*
  • Lymphedema / epidemiology
  • Lymphedema / etiology
  • Lymphedema / prevention & control
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surgical Wound Dehiscence / epidemiology
  • Surgical Wound Dehiscence / prevention & control
  • Thigh
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vulva / pathology
  • Vulva / surgery*
  • Vulvar Neoplasms / pathology
  • Vulvar Neoplasms / surgery*