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Acellular porcine small intestinal submucosa graft for cervicovaginal reconstruction in eight patients with malformation of the uterine cervix.

STUDY QUESTION: Can surgical reconstruction of the cervix and vagina in patients be achieved using an acellular porcine small intestinal submucosa (SIS) graft?

SUMMARY ANSWER: Our experiences of combined laparoscopic and vaginal cervicovaginal reconstruction using an SIS graft in eight patients were positive, with successful reconstruction and no complications, cervical stenosis or vaginal stenosis.

WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY: In patients with agenesis and dysgenesis of the uterine cervix and vagina, surgical reconstruction of the internal genitalia is a challenging problem for gynecologists. Hysterectomy with the creation of an artificial vagina was the treatment of choice in the 1990s. Recently, conservative management has been gradually adopted to avoid extirpation of the uterus, including the canalization techniques, the uterovaginal anastomosis and the reconstruction of cervical and vaginal agenesis with some autologous tissues.

STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION: This prospective observational study from January 2012 to March 2013 included 8 patients aged 10-18 years with malformation of the cervix (1 with cervical agenesis, 1 with a cervical body consisting of a fibrous band and 6 with obstruction of the cervical os) and vagina (4 with complete vaginal aplasia and 4 with a 1-3 cm long vaginal pouch) diagnosed by physical examination and magnetic resonance imaging.

PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS: Eight patients underwent combined laparoscopic and vaginal cervicovaginal reconstruction using an SIS graft during the end of menstruation. A T-shaped intrauterine device connected with a 14-French Foley catheter was inserted into the uterine cavity to keep the newly created cervix patent, and then a permanent lower uterine cerclage was placed. Patients were assessed post-operatively at 1, 2, 4, 6, 12 and 15 months, and data on menstruation and the morphology of the neovagina and cervix were recorded.

MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE: The mean ± SD age of the patients was 14.5 ± 2.8 (10-18) years. All patients had a history of cyclic abdominal pain, and the average delay in diagnosis was 4.5 ± 4.0 (0-12) months. One patient had a previous history of unsuccessful attempt at canalization and two post-operative hematometra drainages before referral. The mean operating time was 201 ± 67 (120-330) min, with a mean estimated blood loss of 157 ± 154 (30-500) ml. The first case was converted to laparotomy, and the others were successfully completed. None of the patients had a complication or required blood transfusion. All the patients showed resumption of menstruation. The patients were followed for 8 ± 4 (4-15) months, and no cervical or vaginal stenosis occurred in any of the cases.

LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION: The sample size of this study was small. A larger study that compared this method with previous techniques regarding the complication and success rates would increase the value of the study.

WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS: A combined laparoscopic and vaginal cervicovaginal reconstruction with an SIS graft is a potential alternative to the management of congenital agenesis and dysgenesis of uterine cervix and vagina.

STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTEREST(S): The work was supported by National Key Clinical Faculty Construction Program of China. No competing interests are declared.

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