A risk factor analysis of complications after surgery for vulvar cancer

Georgios Gitas*, L. Proppe, S. Baum, M. Kruggel, A. Rody, D. Tsolakidis, D. Zouzoulas, A. S. Laganà, V. Guenther, D. Freytag, I. Alkatout

*Corresponding author for this work


Introduction: Despite the less frequent use of surgery in patients with vulvar cancer, the high rates of postoperative complications are still a matter of concern. The aim of the present study was to identify risk factors that influence postoperative complications rates in vulvar cancer and identify specific clinical parameters that may influence their incidence. Materials: Patients who underwent curative-intent surgery for squamous cell carcinoma of the vulva from 2003 to 2018 were selected. All patient characteristics were analyzed as risk factors for the development of postoperative lymphocele, lymphedema, and wound dehiscence. The patients were followed up for 2 years postoperatively. Results: The investigation comprised 121 patients, of whom 18.1% developed wound dehiscence, 17.7% a lymphocele, and 20.4% lymphedema. We found no significant evidence of an association between patient’s characteristics and postoperative complications. The depth of tumor invasion and the appearance of lymph-node metastasis were significantly associated with postoperative complications. Free resection margins of 5 mm or more were associated with a reduced risk of postoperative complications compared to resection margins less than 5 mm. No complications were encountered after sentinel node biopsy (SNB). Complication rates were associated with inguinofemoral lymphadenectomy, but not with the extent of lymphadenectomy. The development of a lymphocele or wound dehiscence may be correlated with the development of long-term lymphedema. Conclusion: FIGO stage at diagnosis influences the risk of postoperative complications. The use of SNB minimized postoperative complications. Correlations between the free microscopic resection margin distance and the risk of postoperative wound dehiscence must be investigated further.

Original languageEnglish
JournalArchives of Gynecology and Obstetrics
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)511-519
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 08.2021

Research Areas and Centers

  • Research Area: Luebeck Integrated Oncology Network (LION)
  • Centers: University Cancer Center Schleswig-Holstein (UCCSH)


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