Vaginal reconstruction following radical surgery for colorectal malignancies: a systematic review of the literature

Ann Surg Oncol. 2012 Nov;19(12):3933-42. doi: 10.1245/s10434-012-2503-3. Epub 2012 Aug 15.


Introduction: Vaginectomy is frequently indicated to ensure an adequate resection in rectal cancer. This paper reviews the success, complications, and functional results after various methods of vaginal reconstruction following resection for rectal tumors.

Methods: A systematic review of the literature was performed by using the MEDLINE database, Embase, and the Cochrane library (1990-2010).

Results: Eighteen papers were available to review. Fifty percent of all women who received a neovagina following vaginectomy returned to sexual activity postoperatively. The rectus abdominis myocutaneous (RAM) flap remains the most common method of vaginal reconstruction after surgery for colorectal cancer. Advantages include low operative morbidity, a wide arc of rotation, and ease of harvest. Alternatives to flap reconstruction of the vagina have limited indications because of higher morbidity rates.

Conclusions: Preferred techniques for vaginal reconstruction following vaginectomy with colorectal cancer resection include RAM flaps for partial posterior vaginal defects and bilateral Gracilis myocutaneous flaps for complete vaginal excisions.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Colorectal Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Plastic Surgery Procedures*
  • Prognosis
  • Review Literature as Topic
  • Surgical Flaps
  • Vagina / surgery*