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Vaginal radical trachelectomy: a valuable fertility-preserving option in the management of early-stage cervical cancer. A series of 50 pregnancies and review of the literature.

OBJECTIVE: To report the obstetrical results following vaginal radical trachelectomy (VRT), a fertility-preserving surgery in the treatment of early-stage cervical cancer.

METHODS: Retrospective review of our first 72 patients treated by a laparoscopic pelvic lymphadenectomy followed by a VRT from October 1991 to October 2003 with regards to their reproductive function.

RESULTS: Patients' median age was 32 years old (21-42) and 53 (74%) were nulligravida. A total of 50 pregnancies occurred in 31 women. The majority (66%) had only one pregnancy, 19% had 2 pregnancies and 16% had 3 pregnancies or more. The rate of first trimester miscarriage was 16%, the rate of second trimester miscarriage was (4%) and 2 women (4%) elected to have pregnancy termination. A total of 36 pregnancies (72%) reached the third trimester. Of those, 3 (8%) ended prematurely at <32 weeks gestation, 5 (14%) delivered between 32 and 36 weeks and 28 (78%) delivered at term (>37 weeks). One newborn died of neonatal sepsis from E. coli infection and one died from cardiac malformation (trisomy-18). Seven patients (10%) had infertility problems: 3 from ovulatory causes of which 2 successfully conceived with IVF, one from endometriosis and low sperm count and 3 from probable cervical cause of which one conceived with IUI. One patient had a twin pregnancy following IVF and elected to have embryo reduction and subsequently delivered at 37 weeks.

CONCLUSION: Based on our experience, the obstetrical results following VRT for early-stage cervical cancer are very encouraging. The majority of women can anticipate to conceive spontaneously and deliver near term.

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