Nerve-Sparing Approach Improves Outcomes of Patients Undergoing Minimally Invasive Radical Hysterectomy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

J Minim Invasive Gynecol. 2018 Mar-Apr;25(3):402-410. doi: 10.1016/j.jmig.2017.11.014. Epub 2017 Dec 2.


Few studies have investigated the efficacy and safety of the nerve-sparing approach via minimally invasive surgery for the treatment of cervical cancer. We aimed to review the current evidence comparing nerve-sparing minimally invasive radical hysterectomy (NS-MRH) with conventional minimally invasive radical hysterectomy (MRH). This systematic review was registered in the International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (CRD#57655). Overall, 675 patients were included: 350 (51.9%) and 325 (48.1%) patients undergoing MRH and NS-MRH, respectively. MRH was associated with a shorter operative time in comparison with NS-MRH (mean difference = 32.57 minutes; 95% CI, 22.87-42.48). The estimated blood loss (mean difference = 97.14 mL, 20.01-214.29) and transfusion rate (odds ratio [OR] = 0.67; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.15-3.01) did not differ statistically between the 2 groups. The risk of developing intraoperative (OR = 0.43; 95% CI, 0.08-2.23) and severe postoperative (OR = 0.63; 95% CI, 0.17-2.39) complications was similar between NS-MRH and MRH. Patients undergoing NS-MRH experienced lower voiding (OR = 0.39; 95% CI, 0.19-0.81) dysfunction rates than patients undergoing MRH. Moreover, a trend toward lower sexual (OR = 0.25; 95% CI, 0.06-1.07) and rectal (OR = 0.12; 95% CI, 0.01-1.02) issues was observed for patients having NS-MRH compared with patients undergoing MRH. Survival outcomes are not influenced by the type of surgical approach (recurrence [OR = 1.27; 95% CI, 0.49-3.28] and death [OR = 1.01; 95% CI, 0.36-2.83]) rates. The pooled data suggested that NS-MRH is equivalent to MRH for the treatment of cervical cancer and may be superior in reducing pelvic floor dysfunction rates. However, because of the low level of evidence of the included studies, further randomized trials are warranted.

Keywords: Cervical cancer; Minimally invasive surgery; Nerve sparing; Radical hysterectomy.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Transfusion / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hysterectomy / methods*
  • Intraoperative Complications
  • Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / surgery
  • Operative Time
  • Organ Sparing Treatments / methods*
  • Pelvic Floor Disorders / prevention & control
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Prospective Studies
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / surgery*