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Comparison of postoperative complications and quality of life between patients undergoing continent versus non-continent urinary diversion after pelvic exenteration for gynecologic malignancies


Background Pelvic exenteration and its reconstructive techniques have been associated with high postoperative morbidity and a negative impact on patient quality of life. The aim of our study was to compare postoperative complications and quality of life in patients undergoing continent compared with non-continent urinary diversion after pelvic exenteration for gynecologic malignancies.

Methods We designed a multicenter study of patients from 10 centers who underwent an anterior or total pelvic exenteration with urinary reconstruction for histologically confirmed persistent or recurrent gynecologic malignancy after previous treatment with radiotherapy. From January 2005 to September 2008, we included patients retrospectively, and from September 2008 to May 2009, patients were included prospectively which allowed collection of quality of life data. Demographic, surgical, and follow-up data were analyzed. Postoperative complications were classified according to the Clavien–Dindo classification. Quality of life was assessed using the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC)-QLQ-C30 (V.3.0) and EORTC-QLQ-OV28 quality of life questionnaires. We compared patients who underwent a continent urinary diversion with those who underwent a non-continent reconstruction.

Results We included 148 patients, 92 retrospectively and 56 prospectively. Among them, 77.4% had recurrent disease and 22.6% persistent disease after the primary treatment. In 70 patients, a urinary continent diversion was performed, and 78 patients underwent a non-continent diversion. Median age of the continent and incontinent groups was 53.5 (range 33–78) years and 57 (26-79) years, respectively. There were no significant differences between the continent and non-continent groups in median length of hospitalization (28.5 vs 26 days, P=0.19), postoperative grade III–IV complications (42.9% vs 42.3%, P=0.95), complications needing surgical (27.9% vs 34.6%, P=0.39) or radiological (14.7% vs 12.8%, P=0.74) intervention, and complication type (digestive (23.2% vs 16.7%, P=0.32) and urinary (15.9% vs 16.7%, P=0.91)). There were no significant differences between the groups in global health, global quality of life, and body image perception scores 1 year after surgery.

Conclusion Continent and incontinent urinary reconstructions are equivalent in terms of postoperative complications and quality of life scores.

  • gynecologic cancer
  • anterior pelvic exenteration
  • continent urinary reconstruction
  • incontinent urinary reconstruction
  • global health
  • body image

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