Robot-Assisted Vesico-Vaginal Fistula Repair: Our Technique and Review of the Literature

Our first objective was to report our experience on robot-assisted vesico-vaginal fistula (VVF) repair after radical surgery for gynecologic malignancies without omental flap interposition using a da Vinci robotic system. The second objective was to critically review the literature in order to analyze surgical solutions used to avoid repair failure.

Five patients with VVF diagnosed after previous open surgery for gynecologic malignancies referred to our tertiary institutions were selected. After an adequate oncologic follow-up, based on the fistula diameter and conservative management failure, robotic surgery repair was proposed. A bivalve 2-layer suturing technique was carried out without tissue interpositions; omentum was not available secondary to previous surgery including hysterectomy, ovaryectomy, and omentectomy and citoreductive peritoneomectomy. A systematic review of the literature was performed in December 2016 using the PubMed database with the following keywords: robotic, robot-assisted, vesico-vaginal, fistula repair.

Median age was 62 years (range 55-71) bearing long-lasting VVF were referred to our divisions. Median fistula diameter was 5 mm (range 3-8 mm). Fistula site was the trigone and identified during cystoscopy near the mid-line, left, and right urether meatus, respectively. The median overall and console operatory time were 250 and 120 min, respectively. Blood loss was insignificant (median 40 mL) and the median length of stay was 7 days without any complication. Ten papers were found fulfilling the mentioned criteria, from which 6 were case reports, single or multiple, accounting for the overall 41 robotic-approach-operated patients.

The quality of the dissection and suture associated with efficient urine drainage are in our opinion the key elements of the success of our technique, which can be performed even without omentum or other tissue flap or graft interposition.

Urologia internationalis. 2017 Jul 26 [Epub ahead of print]

Deliu Victor Matei, Vanna Zanagnolo, Mihai Dorin Vartolomei, Nicolae Crisan, Matteo Ferro, Luca Bocciolone, Angelo Maggioni, Ioan Coman, Ottavio de Cobelli

Division of Urology, European Institute of Oncology, Milan, Italy.

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