A proposed glossary of terminology related to the surgical treatment of vulvar carcinoma

Leonardo Micheletti, Mario Preti, Paolo Zola, Maria Clara Zanotto Valentino, Carlo Bocci, Fabrizio Bogliatto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND. The authors' objective was to provide a glossary of terminology related to the surgical treatment of invasive vulvar carcinoma. There is currently no consensus in the literature regarding the names of the surgical procedures used to treat this disease. METHODS. A surgical glossary should be supported by clear definitions and acceptance of notions related to topographic anatomy that are specific to the surgical practice. A critical review of the classic, chiefly used Italian, French, German, and English textbooks of anatomy revealed some discrepancies and lack of uniformity in descriptions of vulvar and inguinal fascial structures and lymph nodes, which represent the principal landmarks of surgical treatment. In the proposed glossary, the descriptions of these anatomic landmarks integrate classic anatomic knowledge, data from recent gynecologic studies of inguinal anatomy, and the clinical experiences of the authors. RESULTS. The glossary is composed of 16 surgical definitions, which are divided into 3 main sections of terminology describing the surgical treatment of the: 1) vulva, 2) inguinal lymph nodes, and 3) pelvic lymph nodes. The fundamental objective behind the glossary is to describe the area and the depth of the surgical procedure. Three determinants of the area (local, partial, and total) and three determinants of the depth of surgery (superficial, simple, and deep) were used to arrive at the fully articulated definitions in the glossary. CONCLUSIONS. The authors are aware that the proposed glossary should not be considered a definitive one; however, it could serve as a good basis for further debate. The terms employed in the glossary are accompanied by anatomic and descriptive references to help avoid confusion and promote better understanding among gynecologic oncologists who are involved in the treatment of vulvar carcinoma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1369-1375
Number of pages7
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 1998


  • Glossary
  • Lymph nodes
  • Surgery
  • Vulvar carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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