There is an increased need for evidence-based practices in male-to-female (MtF) transgender vaginoplasty. Although there are a multitude of surgical techniques, there is a paucity of data comparing these procedures. A systematic review of retrospective studies on the outcomes of MtF vaginoplasty was conducted to minimize surgical complications and improve patient outcomes for transgender patients.
Applying the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis, a comprehensive search of several databases from 1985 to November 7, 2017, was conducted. The databases included PubMed, Ovid MEDLINE Epub Ahead of Print, Ovid Medline In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations, Ovid MEDLINE, Ovid EMBASE, Ovid Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and Web of Science. The resulting publications were screened, and those that met our specified inclusion/exclusion criteria were analyzed. The DerSimonian and Laird random-effects model was used to pool complications and patient-reported outcomes.
A total of 471 articles were initially identified, of which 46 met our eligibility criteria. A total of 3716 cases were analyzed. Overall incidence of complications included the following: 2% (1%–6%) fistula, 14% (10%–18%) stenosis and strictures, and 1% (0%–6%) tissue necrosis, and 4% (2%–10%) prolapse (upper and lower limits of the 95% confidence interval). Patient-reported outcomes included a satisfaction rate of 93% (79%–100%) with overall results, 87% (75%–96%) with functional outcomes, and 90% (79%–98%) with esthetic outcomes. Ability to have orgasm was reported in 70% (54%–84%) of patients. The regret rate was 1% (0%–3%). The length of the vaginal cavity was 12.5 cm (6.3–4.4 cm).
Multiple surgical techniques have demonstrated safe and reliable means of MtF vaginoplasty with low overall complication rates and with a significant improvement in the patient's quality of life. Studies using different techniques in a similar population and standardized patient-reported outcomes are required to further analyze outcomes among the different procedures and to establish best-practice guidelines.