Author Reply to "Robotic-assisted Posterior Urethroplasty: Outcomes From 105 Men in a Single-center Experience"
What Pediatric Robotic Surgery Since 2000 Suggests About Ethics, Limits, and Innovation
Since the US Food and Drug Administration first approved robotic surgery for clinical use in 2000, it has gained widespread adoption across multiple surgical domains. While pediatric surgery has had a relatively slower adoption rate, robotic surgery has nonetheless grown in this context. This work traces the historical and regulatory aspects of pediatric robotic surgery, showing how it incorporated an existing robotic surgical system developed for adults; situates the technology within ethical frameworks for analyzing surgical innovation; and advocates for combined surgeon self-regulation and institutional oversight. Finally, the argument is made that there are key unmet technological needs pertaining to instrument size and adaptability secondary to pediatric robotic surgery's smaller market share and that clinicians and producers of robotic surgical systems should work to address these needs.
Operative Management of Complications Following Intestinal Vaginoplasty: A Case Series and Systematic Review
OBJECTIVE:To 1) describe the authors' experience with surgical management of complications following intestinal vaginoplasty and 2) review the literature on incidence of complications following gender affirming intestinal vaginoplasty. METHODS:Retrospective chart review identified patients presenting with complications following prior intestinal vaginoplasty requiring operative management. Charts were analyzed for medical history, preoperative exam and imaging, intraoperative technique, and long-term outcomes. Systematic literature review was performed to identify primary research on complications following gender affirming intestinal vaginoplasty. RESULTS:Four patients presented to the senior authors' clinic requiring operative intervention for complications following intestinal vaginoplasty, all of whom underwent surgical revision. Complications included vaginal stenosis (2 patients, 50%), vaginal false passage (1 patient, 25%) and diversion colitis (1 patient, 25%). Postoperatively all patients were able to dilate successfully to a depth of at least 15cm. Systematic review identified 10 studies meeting inclusion criteria. There were 215 complications reported across 654 vaginoplasties (33% overall complication rate). Average return to OR rate was 18%. The most common complications were stenosis (11%), mucorrhea (7%), vaginal prolapse (6%), and malodor (5%). Six intestinal vaginoplasty segments developed vascular compromise leading to flap loss. There were 2 reported mortalities. CONCLUSIONS:Intestinal vaginoplasty is associated with a range of complications including vaginal stenosis, mucorrhea, and vaginal prolapse. Intra-abdominal complications, including diversion colitis, anastomotic bowel leak, and intra-abdominal abscess can occur many years after surgery, be life-threatening and require prompt diagnosis and management.
Should BMI Help Determine Gender-Affirming Surgery Candidacy?
Use of body mass index (BMI) as a health care metric is controversial, especially in candidacy assessments for gender-affirming surgery. When considering experiences of fat trans individuals, it is important to advocate for equitable divisions of responsibility for and recognition of systemic fat phobia. This commentary on a case suggests strategies for increasing equitable access to safe surgery for all body types. If surgeons use BMI thresholds, simultaneous effort must be made to advocate for data collection so that surgical candidacy criteria are evidence-based and equitably applied.
Anterolateral Thigh Phalloplasty With Staged Skin Graft Urethroplasty: Technique and Outcomes
OBJECTIVE:1) To describe the authors' technique of anterolateral thigh (ALT) phalloplasty with staged skin graft urethroplasty and 2) to report the surgical outcomes and complications of this technique in a preliminary patient cohort. METHODS:Following IRB (Institutional Review Board) approval, retrospective chart review identified all patients undergoing primary three-stage ALT phalloplasty by the senior authors. Stage I involves single tube, pedicled ALT transfer. Stage II involves vaginectomy, pars fixa urethroplasty, scrotoplasty, and opening the ALT ventrally and construction of a urethral plate with split-thickness skin graft. Stage III involves tubularization of the urethral plate to create the penile urethra. Data collected included patient demographics, intraoperative details, postoperative courses, and complications. RESULTS:Twenty-four patients were identified. Twenty-two patients (91.7%) underwent ALT phalloplasty prior to vaginectomy. All patients underwent staged split-thickness skin grafting for the penile urethra reconstruction. Twenty-one patients (87.5%) achieved standing micturition at the time of data collection. Eleven patients (44.0%) experienced at least 1 urologic complication requiring additional operative intervention, most commonly urethrocutaneous fistulae (8 patients, 33.3%), and urethral strictures (5 patients, 20.8%). CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:ALT phalloplasty with split-thickness skin grafting for urethral lengthening is an alternative technique to achieve standing micturition with an acceptable complication rate in gender-affirming phalloplasty.
A Multi-Institutional Experience Utilizing Boari Flap in Robotic Urinary Reconstruction
How Should Surgeons Approach Gender-Affirming Surgery Revisions When Patients Were Not, Perhaps, Well Informed in Prior Counseling?
Surgeons often encounter patients with realistic goals yet who desire unrealistic means of achieving them. This tension is compounded when surgeons consult with patients eager to revise a prior gender-affirming procedure completed by another surgeon. Two key factors of ethical and clinical relevance are that (1) a consulting surgeon's job is complicated when a population-specific evidence base is lacking and (2) a patient's marginalization is exacerbated by their having suffered the downstream effects of compromised initial access to comprehensive, realistic surgical care. This case commentary about revision of gender-affirming phalloplasty canvasses the pitfalls of a limited evidence base and focuses on strategies surgeons can use to help guide consultation. In particular, informed consent discussion may need to reframe a patient's expectations about clinical accountability for irreversible interventions.
Gender-Affirming Vaginoplasty: A Comparison of Algorithms, Surgical Techniques and Management Practices across 17 High-volume Centers in North America and Europe
UNLABELLED:Penile inversion vaginoplasty is the most common gender-affirming genital surgery performed around the world. Although individual centers have published their experiences, expert consensus is generally lacking. METHODS/UNASSIGNED:Semistructured interviews were performed with 17 experienced gender surgeons representing a diverse mix of specialties, experience, and countries regarding their patient selection, preoperative management, vaginoplasty techniques, complication management, and postoperative protocols. RESULTS/UNASSIGNED:There is significant consistency in practices across some aspects of vaginoplasty. However, key areas of clinical heterogeneity are also present and include use of extragenital tissue for vaginal canal/apex creation, creation of the clitoral hood and inner labia minora, elevation of the neoclitoral neurovascular bundle, and perioperative hormone management. Pathway length of stay is highly variable (1-9 days). Lastly, some surgeons are moving toward continuation or partial reduction of estrogen in the perioperative period instead of cessation. CONCLUSIONS/UNASSIGNED:With a broad study of surgeon practices, and encompassing most of the high-volume vaginoplasty centers in Europe and North America, we found key areas of practice variation that represent areas of priority for future research to address. Further multi-institutional and prospective studies that incorporate patient-reported outcomes are necessary to further our understanding of these procedures.
Genital Hypoplasia before Gender-Affirming Vaginoplasty: Does the Robotic Peritoneal Flap Method Create Equivalent Vaginal Canal Outcomes?
BACKGROUND:Insufficient genital tissue has been reported as a barrier to achieving depth in gender-affirming vaginoplasty. The authors sought to characterize vaginal depth and revision outcomes in patients with genital hypoplasia undergoing robotic peritoneal flap vaginoplasty. METHODS:Retrospective case-control analysis of patients undergoing robotic peritoneal vaginoplasty between September of 2017 and August of 2020 was used. All 43 patients identified as having genital hypoplasia (genital length <7 cm) were included with 49 random controls from the remaining patients with greater than 7 cm genital length. Baseline clinical characteristics and perioperative variables were recorded to identify potential confounders. Outcomes measured included vaginal size reported at last visit and undergoing revision surgery for depth or for vulvar appearance. RESULTS:Patients were well matched other than median body mass index at the time of surgery, which was greater in the hypoplasia cohort by 3.6 kg/m 2 ( P < 0.0001). Patients had a median of 1-year of follow-up, with a minimum follow-up of 90 days. No significant differences in outcomes were observed, with a median vaginal depth of 14.5 cm (interquartile range, 13.3 to 14.5 cm), and a median width of dilator used of 3.8 cm (interquartile range, 3.8 to 3.8 cm). No depth revisions were observed, and an 11% ( n = 10) rate of external revision occurred. CONCLUSIONS:Patients with genital hypoplasia had equivalent dilation outcomes in a case-control analysis with consistent follow-up past 90 days. The robotic peritoneal flap vaginoplasty technique provides vaginal depth of 14 cm or greater regardless of genital tissue before surgery. Further investigation with patient-reported outcome measures is warranted. CLINICAL QUESTION/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:Risk, II.
Transgender women with prostate cancer are under-represented in national cancer registries