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Surgery insight: radical vaginal trachelectomy as a method of fertility preservation for cervical cancer

Mario E Beiner, Allan Covens
Nature Clinical Practice. Oncology 2007, 4 (6): 353-61
Over the past decade, the treatment of cervical cancer has evolved with an increased emphasis on preservation of fertility. There has been a gradual abandonment of radical surgical procedures in favor of more conservative techniques in an effort to decrease morbidity and preserve fertility without compromising overall survival. Radical vaginal trachelectomy (RVT) with laparoscopic pelvic lymphadenectomy is a fertility-preserving procedure that has recently gained worldwide acceptance as a method of surgically treating small invasive cancers of the cervix. Since the original description of RVT by Daniel Dargent in 1994, over 500 cases of utilization of this technique have been reported in the literature, with over 100 live births reported following this procedure. The morbidity associated with RVT is low, with a tumor recurrence rate of 5% and a mortality rate of 3%. The current literature indicates no difference in the rate of recurrence with this technique compared with radical hysterectomy when proper selection criteria are used. Combining RVT with laparoscopic sentinel lymph-node biopsy can further reduce the duration, extent, and complications of surgery.

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