Article Abstract

Laparoscopic approach for gonadectomy in pediatric patients with intersex disorders

Authors: Andres Calvo, Maria Escolino, Alessandro Settimi, Agnese Roberti, Maria Grazia Caprio, Ciro Esposito


The birth of a child with a disorder of sex development (DSD) prompts a long-term management strategy that involves a myriad of professionals working with the family. There has been progress in diagnosis, surgical techniques and in understanding psychosocial issues related to this condition. However, since these kinds of disorders are rare and have many anatomical variations, individual care is necessary, especially regarding surgical management. Gonadectomy is indicated in a number of intersex disorders with a Y chromosome to reduce the associated risk of cancer. Recently, laparoscopy has gained wide acceptance in pediatric urology. Laparoscopy is also reported to be a useful tool for diagnosing and treating DSD because of its minimal invasiveness and favorable cosmetic outcome. However, reports of evaluation and management using laparoscopy for large numbers of DSD patients are limited and debate is still open about indications and timing of gonadectomy. In this study, we reviewed the literature of the last 10 years about the role of laparoscopic gonadectomy in patients with DSD. In the analyzed papers, all the procedures were accomplished successfully using laparoscopy. No conversions to open surgery neither intra-operative complications were reported in all series. Post-operative complications were reported only in one series and included 1 umbilical port infection [2% (1/50)] and 1 pelvic abscess [2% (1/50)], both treated with antibiotic therapy (grade I Clavien-Dindo). Of the analyzed series, 7/10 reported postoperative diagnosis of gonadal tumors. The histopathologic examinations revealed 15 cases of gonadoblastoma, 7 cases of dysgerminoma and 2 cases of seminoma. Analyzing the single series, the incidence of these tumors varied between 10% and 33%. The results of our review confirmed the safety and efficacy of laparoscopic gonadectomy in DSD patients. In our mind, laparoscopic gonadectomy should be accepted as the treatment of choice in children and adolescents with these rare conditions. It thereby eliminates the risk of malignancies of gonadal origin with the advantages of a minimally invasive procedure, with lower morbidity, quicker postoperative recovery and excellent cosmetic results.