The aim of this study is to describe the histologic architecture of the tissues corresponding to the surgically developed connective tissue bundle commonly referred to as the posterior leaf of the vesico-uterine ligament (VUL), and to examine distribution of ganglion cells. Serial macroscopic slices, each 15–20 mm in thickness, were made from eight specimens (obtained from six female elderly cadavers). In these macroslices, the location of the deep uterine vein was used to identify the deep leaf of the VUL. The specimens were trimmed and semi-serial histologic sections in thickness were prepared at 1 mm intervals. Vesical veins and the associated nerve elements were enclosed by fascia and formed a common pedicle. The base of the pedicle contained the deep uterine vein trunk. The fascia encircling the pedicle varied in thickness and connective intensity between specimens. This vesical neurovascular bundle contained abundant ganglion cells. On average, 48.0% of the ganglion cells along the vesical tributaries of the deep uterine vein were located on the medial or vaginal side of the veins, 19.2% were located between veins, 13.0% on the lateral side of the veins, and 19.8% on the dorsal side. The interindividual variability was greatest on the dorsal side of vesical veins and ranged 11–202 cells. We conclude that in order to achieve maximal preservation of the ganglion cells during the surgical dissection of the posterior leaf of the VUL, care must be taken when the medial or vesical aspect of the ligament is separated. The standard nerve-sparing radical hysterectomy should be modified to reflect differences in the distribution of ganglion cells and in connective intensity between ganglions and veins.
- ganglion cells
- radical hysterectomy
- vesico-uterine ligament
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