Table of Contents
Diagnostic and Therapeutic Endoscopy
Volume 1, Issue 2, Pages 117-119

Laparoscopic Surgical Staging of Stage I Primary Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Vagina

1Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Arizona, Tucson 85724, AZ, USA
22625 North Craycroft, Suite 201, Tucson 85712, AZ, USA

Received 27 December 1993; Accepted 21 February 1994

Copyright © 1994 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Vaginal carcinoma is an uncommon malignancy and one of the few gynecologic malignancies that is still clinically staged. Clinical staging, which can be difficult in some instances, is potentially inaccurate, as it has been shown to be in early endometrial and ovarian carcinoma. In addition, clinical staging can result in over- or undertreatment of the disease. The lack of standardization of treatment further compounds the issue, particularly for patients with small-volume disease. We report three patients with grade 2 or 3 small-volume primary squamous cell carcinoma of the vagina who underwent pelvic lymph node sampling for staging purposes. Each patient had lesions small enough to be considered for brachytherapy only. An average of 12 lymph nodes were removed with an average operative time of 72 minutes. All procedures were performed on an outpatient basis, and there were no intraoperative or postoperative complications. In one patient, teletherapy was added to the brachytherapy because a microscopic focus of squamous cell carcinoma was discovered in an obturator lymph node. Our initial experience indicates that laparoscopic sampling of lymph nodes in patients with early vaginal carcinoma may be helpful in preventing undertreatment of these women. Individualization of treatment can be accomplished quickly and safely on an outpatient basis, and initiation of treatment is not delayed. We believe further evaluation of laparoscopic staging of primary vaginal carcinoma is indicated.