Superficial versus deep inguinal nodal dissection for vulvar cancer staging

Jordan Mattson, Jenna Emerson, Amelia Underwood, Grace Sun, Sarah L. Mott, Amita Kulkarni, Katina Robison, Emily K. Hill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The objective of this study was to compare the rate of groin recurrence among women undergoing superficial or deep inguinal lymph node dissections in suspected early-stage vulvar carcinoma. Secondary objectives included comparison of overall survival and post-operative morbidity between the study groups. Methods: A retrospective cohort of 233 patients with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the vulva who underwent an inguinal lymph node dissection at two major academic institutions from 1999 to 2017 were analyzed. Demographic, surgical, recurrence, survival, and post-operative morbidity data were collected for 233 patients, resulting in a total of 400 groin node dissections analyzed. Results: Rates of overall primary recurrence of disease between superficial and deep inguinal LND (42.5 vs. 39.8%, p = 0.70) and rates of inguinal recurrence (3.4 vs. 8.3%, p = 0.16) were similar. Overall rates of postoperative morbidity were significantly higher in the cohort undergoing deep LND (70.3% vs 44.3%, p < 0.01). Rates of lymphedema (42.4 vs 15.9%, p < 0.01), readmission (26.3 vs 6.8%, p < 0.01), and infection (40.7 vs 14.8%, p < 0.01) were all significantly higher among patients undergoing deep LND. There was no significant difference noted in overall survival between the study groups when adjusting for stage and age (HR 1.08, p = 0.84). Conclusion: Superficial inguinal LND had no significant difference in rate of recurrence or overall survival when compared to deep inguinal LND in patients with vulvar SCC. Those who received a deep LND had a significant increase in overall morbidity, including lymphedema, readmission, and infection. For patients who cannot undergo or fail sentinel lymph node mapping, a superficial inguinal lymph node dissection may have similar outcomes in recurrence and overall survival with a reduction in overall morbidity as compared to a complete, or deep, lymph node dissection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)465-470
Number of pages6
JournalGynecologic oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2022


  • Cancer surger
  • Early-stage vulvar cancer
  • Inguinal lymph node dissection
  • Vulvar cancer
  • cancer survivorship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


Dive into the research topics of 'Superficial versus deep inguinal nodal dissection for vulvar cancer staging'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this