Sigmoid colon vaginoplasty in children

S Ekinci, I Karnak, A O Ciftci, M E Senocak, F C Tanyel, N Büyükpamukçu
European Journal of Pediatric Surgery 2006, 16 (3): 182-7

BACKGROUND: Vaginal construction is necessary for the patients with aplasia of Mullerian ducts, testicular feminisation and androgen insensitivity syndromes. Many methods of vaginal construction have been described. We report here the outcomes of six adolescent patients who underwent sigmoid colon vaginoplasty with special emphasis on the surgical technique and outcomes.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Between 1990 and 2003, six patients underwent sigmoid vaginoplasty after a diagnosis of 5alpha-reductase deficiency (n = 3), testicular feminisation (n = 2) or vaginal atresia (n = 1). The mean age was 16 years (13 to 18). Wide spectrum antibiotics and whole-gut preparation were used in all cases. A 15-20 cm segment of sigmoid colon was pulled through the retrovesical tunnel. The proximal end was closed in two layers in patients with 5alpha-reductase deficiency and with testicular feminisation. A distal anastomosis was carried out to the opening made on the vaginal plate (5alpha-reductase deficiency) or on the tip of the shallow rudimentary vagina (testicular feminisation). The sigmoid segment was interposed between the blind end of the atretic vagina and the perineum in the patient with vaginal atresia. Patients were instructed to perform daily vaginal irrigation. The neovagina was examined and calibrated under anaesthesia. No routine vaginal dilatation was recommended.

RESULTS: All but one patient had an uneventful postoperative period and were discharged within 7-8 days. All patients had an excellent cosmetic result with an appropriate vaginal length. One of the patients experienced late stenosis of the introitus which responded to dilatations. Mucus discharge was not a significant problem. The patient with vaginal atresia (Bardet-Biedl syndrome) experienced deep vein thrombosis, renal failure and sepsis, resulting in death.

CONCLUSION: Sigmoid colon vaginoplasty is a special procedure which appears appropriate for the construction of a new vagina in children. A sigmoid colon neovagina meets all necessary criteria after a vaginoplasty. It provides an adequate diameter and length, and produces less scar tissue in the perineum. It is self-moistening, easily adaptable to the uterus, cervix and rudimentary atretic vaginal segments and does not require routine dilatation. Mild stenosis of the introitus can be treated by dilatations and revision can be easily performed in severely stenotic cases. On the other hand, the patient may face morbidity after laparotomy and other serious complications may occur due to accompanying diseases.

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