Skinning clitorectomy and skin replacement in women with vulvar intra-epithelial neoplasia.

J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg. 2009 Mar;62(3):341-5. doi: 10.1016/j.bjps.2008.11.073. Epub 2008 Dec 27.

Skinning clitorectomy and skin replacement in women with vulvar intra-epithelial neoplasia.

Terlou A, Hage JJ, van Beurden M.

Department of Gynaecologic Oncology at the Netherlands Cancer Institute-Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


BACKGROUND AND AIM: Partial or total clitoris amputation for vulvar intra-epithelial neoplasia (VIN) affects quality of life and sexual function and is likely to constitute over-treatment as superficial excision of only the involved, thinly cornified, stratified squamous clitoral epithelium would suffice. For this reason, we applied skinning clitorectomy and replacement of clitoral skin as an organ-sparing surgical therapy for clitoral VIN.

METHODS: Seven consecutive patients presenting with VIN were treated from July 2003 to February 2008. The skin of the glans clitoridis was resected from the underlying spongious tissue by combined hydro-dissection and sharp dissection. The spongiosum was subsequently covered with either a thin skin flap from the inner aspect of the remaining preputium or minor labium, or a split-thickness skin graft taken from the proximal inner aspect of the thigh.

RESULTS: In all patients, the preoperative diagnosis of VIN was confirmed histopathologically. Additionally, micro-invasive carcinoma was found in two. The postoperative course was complicated by haematoma in one patient and a superficial infection in another, but these did not influence the overall satisfactory outcome obtained in all patients. Preoperative sexual function was largely preserved and, after a mean follow-up of 21 months, no recurrence or invasion of the original lesion was observed in any of the patients.

CONCLUSION: We advocate skinning clitorectomy and replacement of its skin as a sound organ-sparing alternative for clitoral amputation in the treatment of clitoral VIN.

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