Vaginal reconstruction utilizing sigmoid colon: Complications and long-term results

J. Kellogg Parsons, Susan L. Gearhart, John P. Gearhart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background/Purpose: The use of sigmoid colon segments to repair congenital deformities of the vagina is well established. There are little data, however, on complications or functional results in these patients. The purpose of this study was to evaluate complication rates and long-term patient outcomes in the use of sigmoid segments in vaginal reconstruction for congenital anomalies. Methods: The authors identified 28 patients who underwent vaginal reconstruction with sigmoid colon segments between 1985 and 2000 at their institution. Patient charts were reviewed for surgical technique, complication rates, cosmetic results, functional results, and psychosocial development. Patients were recalled for physical examinations and personal interviews to assess current status. Results: Of the 28 patients, 13 had male pseudohermaphroditism, 6 had Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser syndrome, 2 had true hermaphroditism, 2 had mixed gonadal dysgenesis, 2 had common urogenital sinus syndrome, 2 had adrenogenital syndrome, and 1 had penile agenesis. Mean patient age was 16 years (range, 6 to 21 years). Mean follow-up was 6.2 years (range, 2 months to 15 years). Postoperative complications included introital stenosis (4 patients), mucosal prolapse (4), partial small bowel obstruction (2), perineal wound hematoma (2), superficial wound infection (2), and vaginal prolapse (1). None of the complications have affected long-term patency or cosmesis of the neovagina, nor has mucous production significantly affected quality of life. Fourteen of 16 (88%) adult patients are heterosexually active, 1 is homosexually active, and 1 is asexual. Of the 14 heterosexually active patients, 11 (79%) are "very satisfied" with their psychosexual development and 3 are "comfortable." Four patients are married, and 1 has carried a child to term. All adult patients felt that the appropriate time to undergo surgery was in adolescence. Conclusions: Reconstruction with sigmoid segments is an effective approach for many congenital conditions requiring vaginal reconstruction. Although surgical outcomes are not perfect, appropriately timed reconstructive vaginal surgery can provide most patients with an improved quality of life. For the best long-term results, a multidisciplinary team must be available from infancy to supply comprehensive support.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)629-633
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of pediatric surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2002


  • Ambiguous genitalia
  • Intersex
  • Sigmoid
  • Vagina

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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