While developing the technique of abdominal radical trachelectomy for conservative cervical cancer management, the vascular supply of the uterus was thoroughly examined. The question of how many vessels the uterus requires to ensure its viability arose. Following an abdominal radical trachelectomy for stage IB cervical carcinoma, blood supply of the body of the uterus is successfully maintained by only the two infundibulopelvic vessels (n = 34). Pregnancy has resulted following this technique (n = 2). Selective ligation of the pelvic vasculature has been utilized in the abdominal radical trachelectomy procedure. The objectives of this study were to investigate the vasculature of the infundibulopelvic and broad ligaments, to assess the contribution of the ovarian and uterine vessels to overall uterine perfusion, and to consider the clinical applications of selective pelvic vessel ligation. Ten fresh dissections of the infundibulopelvic vessels, broad ligaments of benign total abdominal hysterectomy, and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy specimens were performed. Perfusion index (PI) and oxygen saturation (O2Sat) measurements using a modified probe were taken at specified intervals at the uterine cornu during ten routine benign abdominal hysterectomies to assess the contribution of the ovarian and uterine vessels to overall uterine perfusion and the concepts studied were utilized in certain gynecological procedures. The ovarian/infundibulopelvic vessels course medially through the broad ligament toward the uterine cornu and consistently give off a branch to the ovary on its lateral border. In addition, further vessels were noted to run laterally from the uterine cornu along the ovarian ligament to the medial aspect of the ovary. PI and O2Sat measurements imply that the uterine and ovarian vessels contribute almost equally to uterine perfusion. Clinical application by selective ligation of the pelvic vasculature has been utilized in certain gynecological procedures often prone to torrential life-threatening uterine hemorrhage. Selective temporary ligation of the uterine and ovarian vessels has proven useful in the surgical management of chemoresistant gestational trophoblastic disease, in the Strassman procedure, fertility-sparing surgery in ruptured cornual ectopic pregnancies, and unrelenting postpartum hemorrhage. Of the six supplying vessels (ovarian, uterine, and vaginal) to the uterus only two (ovarian or uterine or a combination thereof) are required for uterine viability.
- abdominal radical trachelectomy
- major uterine hemorrhage
- pelvic vasculature
- uterine perfusion
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