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Using the Wharton-Sheares-George method to create a neovagina in patients with Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome: a step-by-step video tutorial

Published:September 24, 2016DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fertnstert.2016.08.030

      Objective

      To provide a review of the literature regarding this technique as well as a step-by-step description with the goal of increasing its use as a safe surgical option. Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome is characterized by vaginal agenesis and a variety of mullerian duct anomalies. To date, a variety of procedures have been described for creating a neovagina, but the best treatment remains debated. The Wharton-Sheares-George method, a minimally invasive surgical approach for the creation of a neovagina, is remarkably simple to perform.

      Design

      Surgical video tutorial.

      Setting

      University hospital and referral center for pediatric and adolescent gynecology.

      Patient(s)

      A 20-year-old woman with MRKH syndrome who underwent Wharton-Sheares-George neovaginoplasty.

      Intervention(s)

      With the Wharton-Sheares-George neovaginoplasty the rudimentary müllerian ducts are dilated incrementally by pushing Hegar dilators in the direction of the pelvic axis, and the resulting median raphe is then intersected using diathermy. Subsequently a vaginal mold is inserted into the newly created cavity and held in position by two sutures.

      Main Outcome Measure(s)

      Discussion of the surgical steps according to the Wharton-Sheares-George method and review of the anatomic and functional results.

      Results

      Reviewing the existing literature shows that a mean vaginal length and width of 8.3 and 3.3 cm, respectively, can be achieved, and so far no major intraoperative or postoperative complications or prolapse of the neovagina has been reported. Patients can achieve a high degree of general well-being as well as sexual and psychosocial functioning. However, as with most other methods, the presented method requires diligent patient compliance due to the lifelong need to actively avoid contraction of the neovagina. Also, as revealed by vaginal cultures and biopsies, the neovaginas remarkably resemble natural vaginas with regard to type of bacterial colonization and structure of epithelium. The process of spontaneous epithelialization of the neovagina is not fully understood, but has been observed to begin at the vaginal orifice and take several months to reach the apex. This leads to the assumption that the nonkeratinizing, stratified squamous epithelium originates from the preexisting vaginal epithelium of the vaginal dimple and migrates in a cranial direction. Alternatively, epithelialization might arise from pluripotent stem cells located in the obliterated müllerian ducts.

      Conclusion(s)

      The creation of a neovagina using the Wharton-Sheares-George method does not require allogenic or autologous transplants, nor does it require traction devices or specialized surgical equipment. Furthermore, the procedure is comparatively simple to perform and easy to learn. By following our step-by-step description of this technique, surgeons can offer a minimally invasive, quick, and safe surgical option that provides long-term results that are both functionally and anatomically satisfying. We believe that this technique represents a valuable alternative for the creation of a neovagina in patients with MRKH syndrome and thus should be investigated on a broader scale in the future.

      Key Words

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      Suggested reading

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