Journal of the European Society for Gynaecological Endoscopy


How to dissect the pelvic nerves: from microanatomy to surgical rules. An evidence-based clinical review

A. Aleksandrov 1,2, A.V. Smith 1,3, R. Botchorishvili 1, B. Rabischong 1

1 Department of Gynecological Surgery, University Hospital Estaing, Clermont-Ferrand, France
2 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Specialised Hospital for Obstetrics and Gynecology SBAGAL Pr. Dimitar Stamatov Varna, Medical University Varna, Bulgaria
3 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Higueras Hospital, Concepcion, Chile.


Pelvic nerves, anatomy, nerve sparing, rules of dissection

Published online: Apr 03 2022


Background: Advanced gynaecological procedures often include extensive pelvic dissections, with the nervous structures involved in the disease. Nerve-sparing and preservation is a key factor in reducing postoperative morbidity.

Objectives: The goal of this review is to describe in detail the structure of the pelvic nerves and to gather information from other surgical specialties to give recommendations for safe nerve dissection applied in different gynaecological subspecialties.

Materials and methods: An extensive literature review was carried out in PubMed and Google Scholar. The search included articles concerning peripheral nerve anatomy, mechanisms of injury and different dissection techniques, with the most exhaustive being analysed for the review. Articles from different fields of medicine like orthopaedics, plastic surgery, maxillofacial surgery dealing with peripheral nerve injuries and repair have been reviewed.

Results: The following review demonstrates the in-depth anatomy and mechanism of injury of the peripheral nerves, describes the different techniques for neurolysis and proposes some directions for safe nerve dissection.

Conclusion: When performing complex gynaecological surgeries, the surgeon should avoid unnecessary nerve handling, apply nerve-sparing techniques whenever possible and use the new devices to preserve the nervous structures. Advanced gynaecological surgeries should be performed in specialised centres by expert surgeons with comprehensive knowledge in neuropelveology.

What is new? To our knowledge, this is the first article focused on peripheral nerves that collects data from such a wide range of specialties in order to propose the most comprehensive recommendations that could be applied in pelvic surgery.