Background: This study aimed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of transvaginal natural orifice specimen extraction (NOSE) in patients who underwent laparoscopic or robotic surgery for the treatment of benign or malignant diseases of solid organs, including the kidney, liver, stomach, adrenal gland, and bladder.
Methods: This prospective study was conducted at a tertiary hospital between March 2015 and May 2020. The main outcome was cosmetic outcomes of scars assessed using the Patient and Observer Scar Assessment Scale (POSAS) 1 and 8 weeks after surgery. The secondary outcomes were postoperative pain, operating time, and complications. Sexual function was assessed using the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) questionnaire 6 months after surgery in 17 patients who were sexually active at the time of surgery.
Results: A total of 38 transvaginal NOSE procedures were performed for the extraction of 33 kidneys, 2 livers, 1 stomach, 1 adrenal gland, and 1 bladder. Observers rated pigmentation and relief scores as most deviant from normal skin (2.9 ± 1.7, 3.0 ± 2.1 at postoperative 1 week; 3.6 ± 1.9, 3.5 ± 2.2 at postoperative 8 weeks, respectively), but the overall scores of each item were low. The patients’ overall satisfaction with postoperative scars was high, and the mean scores for pain and itching were low, with significant improvement from the first week to the eighth week (P=0.014 and P=0.006, respectively). Patients also reported low scores on vaginal assessment items, indicating better symptoms, and bleeding improved significantly between the two time points (P=0.001). The mean FSFI total score was 21.2 ± 8.7 (cutoff score for dysfunction is 21), with higher scores indicating better sexual functioning. Postoperative pain was reduced from moderate during the first 24 h after surgery to mild after 24 h. The mean operative time of the transvaginal NOSE procedure was 28.3 ± 13.3 min. No postoperative complications were associated with the procedure.
Conclusions: Transvaginal NOSE may be a safe and feasible procedure with promising cosmetic benefits for patients who undergo minimally invasive surgery for large organs including the kidney, liver, stomach, adrenal gland, and bladder. A prospective randomized clinical trial is needed to provide solid evidence to support transvaginal NOSE.
Trial registration: This trial is registered at ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT05113134).