Assessment of an Alternative to the Uterine Vein for Venous Drainage in Human Uterine Transplantation: A Case Series Following Laparoscopic Hysterectomy

Gynecol Obstet Invest. 2016;81(5):436-41. doi: 10.1159/000442466. Epub 2016 Jan 22.


Background/aims: To determine an alternative to the uterine vein, considering the utero-ovarian vein (UOV) for venous drainage in human uterine transplantation.

Methods: A case series of 10 total laparoscopic hysterectomies was conducted for benign indications and a vascular study was performed ex vivo on the surgical specimen, demonstrating ipsilateral and contralateral flow between the uterine artery (UA) and UOV visualizing anastomoses between these vessels. The flow pattern was documented using heparinized saline and illustrated through fluoroscopy using Isovue-300 dye.

Results: Successful cannulation of UA was accomplished in all 10 cases. Ipsilateral flow between the UA and UOV was demonstrated in all except one case, and contralateral flow was observed. Due to the long interval between the time of specimen retrieval and vascular study, the time to cannulation limited the ability to demonstrate ipsilateral and contralateral flow in 2 cases.

Conclusion: Uterine transplantation has become a viable option for women with absolute uterine factor infertility. However, this surgery requires extensive surgical dissection, and the surgical retrieval of the uterine vein proposes a challenge. We present a potential option for venous drainage in uterine transplant surgery, considering the UOV for venous drainage as an alternative to the uterine vein and a possibility for minimally invasive approach.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hysterectomy
  • Iliac Vein / surgery*
  • Laparoscopy
  • Middle Aged
  • Organ Transplantation / methods*
  • Regional Blood Flow
  • Transplants / blood supply*
  • Uterus / blood supply*
  • Uterus / surgery
  • Uterus / transplantation*