Longitudinal vaginal septum: a proposed classification and surgical management

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Authors:

Artur Ludwin, M.D., Ph.D., Steven R. Lindheim, M.D., M.M.M., Bala Bhagavath, M.D., Wellington P. Martins, M.D., Ph.D., Inga Ludwin, M.D., Ph.D.

Abstract:

Objective

To demonstrate various types of longitudinal vaginal septa (LVS), their classification, and the surgical management of typical and unique morphologic conditions of LVS.


Design

Video presentation of clinical appearance and surgical techniques for treatment of LVS.


Setting

University hospital and two private.


Patient(s)

Representative cases from 121 consecutive women treated from 2013 to 2018 with LVS as a part of complex uterovaginal malformations or in isolated forms with [1] typical morphologic configuration of LVS, [2] rarer variants, or [3] specific anatomic restrictions.


Intervention(s)

Resection of LVS performed as a main surgical procedure in cases with didelphys and bicornuate uterus in symptomatic women and as a part of corrective surgery of complete septate uterus. The three main nonsuturing techniques used were speculoscopy and septum excision using three different electrosurgical modalities; speculoscopy with laparoscopic devices; and vaginoscopy with hysteroscopic instruments.


Main Outcome Measure(s)

Clinical appearance and suggested classification, feasibility of surgery, and perioperative and anatomic results in a short follow-up period (3 months).


Result(s)

We identified distinct types of longitudinal vaginal septa. Considering clinical appearance, we suggest classification of LVS based on four main features: [2] completeness of vaginal division: partial and complete type; [2] the symmetricity: symmetric and asymmetric position (with dominant left and right side); [3] association with the cervix: merged and isolated forms; and [4] concomitant vaginal openings: normal, and narrow openings: vaginal stenosis and hymen persistent (Fig. 1). Vaginoscopic techniques by hysteroscope were successful in atraumatic treatment of women with substantial anatomic restrictions, and all of the presented techniques can be effectively used for typical LVS. However, vessel-sealing systems allow for bloodless surgery in contrast with other methods. This study was based on previously acquired data during large prospective study approved by the local ethics committee, and written informed consent to participate in the prospective study and permit publishing anonymous data regarding the medical images, videos of procedures, and results was obtained from all patients.


Conclusion(s)

A new classification of longitudinal vaginal septum allows better characterization compared with the currently available classification systems. Different surgical modalities are discussed with their respective advantages and disadvantages. Vaginoscopic incision using resectoscope is a reasonable alternative for women with an intact hymen and vaginal stenosis. The impact of vaginal septum resection on obstetric, reproductive, and sexual outcomes should be assessed in randomized controlled trials and large well-designed studies.

Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders. The journal publishes juried original scientific articles in clinical and laboratory research relevant to reproductive endocrinology, urology, andrology, physiology, immunology, genetics, contraception, and menopause. Fertility and Sterility® encourages and supports meaningful basic and clinical research, and facilitates and promotes excellence in professional education, in the field of reproductive medicine.

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