Vaginal reconstruction: An algorithm approach to defect classification and flap reconstruction
Reconstructive Surgical Procedures
Vaginal defects from oncologic resection present a complex array of reconstructive challenges. Increased use of adjuvant radiation and chemotherapy demands uncomplicated wound healing. As patients are being diagnosed at earlier stages of disease and at younger ages, maintenance of sexual function and body image are fundamental goals. This review provides an algorithm approach to defect classification and flap reconstruction. Carefully appreciation of the specific defect facilitates flap choice. There are two basic defect types partial (Type I) and circumferential defects (Type II) 1. These defect types can be further subclassified. Type IA defects are partial and involve the anterior and/or lateral wall. Type IB defects are also partial, but involve the posterior vaginal wall. Type IIA defects are circumferential, involving the upper two-thirds of the vagina. Type IIB defects represent circumferential, total vaginal resection, most commonly following pelvic exenteration. Using this method of defect classification, three pedicled flaps can be used to successfully reconstruct the majority of defects: the Singapore (or pudendal thigh) flap, the rectus flap, and the gracilis flap. With appropriate flap choice and a multidisciplinary approach to patient care, rapid wound healing, restoration of the pelvic floor, and re-establishment of sexual function may be most reliably achieved.