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Gender-affirming vaginoplasty: Technical considerations in patients with genital skin deficiency

Neurourol Urodyn. 2022 Nov 15. doi: 10.1002/nau.25091. Online ahead of print.


INTRODUCTION: Gender dysphoria affects over 1 million American adults. Vaginoplasty is a critical step in gender affirmation, and many patients have insufficient genital skin for full-depth penile inversion vaginoplasty (PIV). We reviewed the literature for technical considerations addressing this and present our data supporting the use of peritoneal flaps (Davydov technique).

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A comprehensive review of modern literature was conducted. Second, we present a retrospective case review of our experience with PIV, including data from procedures utilizing peritoneal flaps.

RESULTS: We identified 20 original articles, including retrospective and prospective case and cohort studies. Approaches included the application of local soft tissue grafts and flaps, peritoneal flaps, and intestinal segments. Between June 2018 and February 2021, 47 patients at our institution, underwent PIV for the treatment of gender dysphoria. Nineteen of those patients underwent robotic-assisted peritoneal flap procedure in addition to PIV. In this cohort, the mean follow-up was 200.6 ± 124.8 days. Mean neovaginal depth was 13.1 ± 3.0 cm intra-operatively and 11.0 cm at the last follow-up. Twenty-six percent of complications were Clavien Grade 1 or 2; others included wound dehiscence (30.4%), perianal and urethral fistula (13.0%), and neovaginal stenosis (8.7%). The majority of patients reported satisfactory results in terms of sexual function with intact tactile and erogenous sensation. Almost half were able to have penetrative vaginal intercourse at the last follow-up. We did not aim to perform statistical calculations to compare the outcomes of PIV with and without robotic-assisted peritoneal flap augmentation, as the groups were not constructed in that manner. However, it is evident that anatomical and functional results as well as the distribution of postoperative complications seem similar.

CONCLUSION: Vaginoplasty is indicated in a growing population of patients with a wide range of medical histories and anatomic variations. Genitourinary reconstructive surgeons must have several methods to achieve full-depth vaginoplasty in cases of inadequate genital skin. Peritoneal flaps serve as a versatile, safe, and functionally advantageous solution.

PMID:36378843 | DOI:10.1002/nau.25091

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