The objective of this study was to compare the safety, efficacy, and short-term benefits of the Coelio-Schauta procedure with open Wertheim/Meigs radical abdominal hysterectomy. We retrospectively analyzed records of our first 35 consecutive patients undergoing laparoscopically assisted radical vaginal hysterectomy (LARVH) for early cervical cancer and 32 consecutive patients of open radical hysterectomy (ORH) performed between 1999 and 2005 in our institution. We analyzed patient age, bodyweight, previous abdominal surgery, operating time, blood loss, perioperative complications, postoperative bladder dysfunction, other postoperative complications, and histologic type. The FIGO stage, excision margins, node count and node status, follow-up, and recurrence rates were also taken into account. We excluded stage IA and stage II disease patients to reduce the impact of tumor size on the outcome of the surgery. This left 27 patients with stage IIB disease who had LARVH and 28 patients with stage IB disease who had ORH. These patients formed the study group. The cohorts were similar in age, bodyweight, previous abdominal surgery, histologic subtype, FIGO stage, resection margins, node count and node status, length of follow-up, and recurrence. There were statistically significant differences between LARVH and ORH for duration of surgery (mean 160 vs 132 min), intraoperative blood loss (479 vs 715 mL), hospital stay (mean 5 vs 9.3 days), postoperative complications (6 vs 20 patients), and duration of bladder catheterization (mean 4.4 vs 8.8 days). Four LARVH patients and no ORH patients had urinary tract injury that was repaired. None had long-term sequelae. Our data confirm that LARVH is a suitable alternative to ORH hysterectomy for small-volume stage IB1 cervical cancer with similar clinical efficacy and a superior postoperative recovery and postoperative morbidity profile. Urinary tract trauma is a clear risk in the early stages of the learning curve.
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