Robot-assisted laparoscopic colpectomy in female-to-male transgender patients; technique and outcomes of a prospective cohort study

Gender-affirming surgeries in female-to-male (FtM) transgender patients include mostly hysterectomy, bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy and mastectomy. Sometimes further surgery is performed, such as phalloplasty. Colpectomy may be performed to overcome gender dysphoria and disturbing vaginal discharge; furthermore, it may be important in reducing the risk of fistulas due to the phalloplasty procedure with urethral elongation. Colpectomy prior to the reconstruction of the neourethra seems to reduce fistula rates on the very first anastomosis. Therefore, at our center, colpectomy has become a standard procedure prior to phalloplasty and metoidioplasty with urethral elongation. Colpectomy is known as a procedure with potentially serious complications, e.g., extensive bloodloss, vesicovaginal fistula or rectovaginal fistula. Colpectomy performed via the vaginal route can be a challenging procedure due to lack of exposure of the surgical field, as many patients are virginal. Therefore, we investigated whether robot-assisted laparoscopic hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (TLH-BSO) followed by robot-assisted laparoscopic colpectomy (RaLC) is an alternative for the vaginal approach.

Robot TLH/BSO and RaLC as a single-step procedure was performed in 36 FtM patients in a prospective cohort study.

Median length of the procedure was 230 min (197-278), which reduced in the second half of the patients, median blood loss was 75 mL (30-200), and median discharge was 3 days (2-3) postoperatively. One patient with a major complication (postoperative bleeding with readmission and transfusion) was reported.

To our knowledge, this is the first report of RaLC. Our results show that RaLC combined with robot TLH-BSO is feasible as a single-step surgical procedure in FtM transgender surgery. Future studies are needed to compare this technique to the two-step surgical approach and on its outcome and complication rates of subsequent phalloplasty.

Surgical endoscopy. 2016 Nov 14 [Epub ahead of print]

Freek Groenman, Charlotte Nikkels, Judith Huirne, Mick van Trotsenburg, Hans Trum

Center of Expertise on Gender Dysphoria, VU University Medical Center, Boelelaan 1117, 1081 HV, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. ., Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands., Center of Expertise on Gender Dysphoria, VU University Medical Center, Boelelaan 1117, 1081 HV, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

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