Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics

, Volume 299, Issue 5, pp 1459–1465 | Cite as

Neurovascular and lymphatic vessels distribution in uterine ligaments based on a 3D reconstruction of histological study: to determine the optimal plane for nerve-sparing radical hysterectomy

  • Pengfei Li
  • Hui Duan
  • Jun Wang
  • Shipeng Gong
  • Guidong Su
  • Jianyi Li
  • Lei Tang
  • Yan Zhang
  • Huijian Fan
  • Ping LiuEmail author
  • Chunlin ChenEmail author
Gynecologic Oncology



To present the distribution of neurovascular and lymphatic vessels in uterine ligaments using 3D models based on the pathological staining of serial 2D sections of postoperative specimens.


Serial transverse sections of fresh uterine ligaments from a patient with stage IB1 cervical squamous cell carcinoma were studied using the computer-assisted anatomic dissection (CAAD) technique. The sections were stained with hematoxylin and eosin, Weigert elastic fibers, D2-40 and immunostainings (sheep anti-tyrosine hydroxylase and rabbit anti-vasoactive intestinal peptide). The sections were then digitalized, registered and reconstructed three-dimensionally. Then, the 3D models were analyzed and measured.


The 3D models of the neurovascular and lymphatic vessels in uterine ligaments were created, depicting their precise location and distribution. The vessels were primarily located in the upper part of the ligaments model, while the pelvic autonomic nerves were primarily in the lower part; the lymphatic vessels were scattered in the uterine ligaments, without obvious regularity.


CAAD is an effective anatomical method to study the precise distribution of neurovascular and lymphatic vessels in uterine ligaments. It can present detailed anatomical information about female pelvic autonomic innervation and the spatial relationship between nerves and vessels and may provide a better understanding of nerve-sparing radical hysterectomy.


Cervical cancer Nerve-sparing Pelvic autonomic nerves 3D reconstruction Histological examination 



This study has received funding by the National Natural Science Fund of China (81571422, 81370736), the National Science and Technology Support Program of China (2014BAI05B03), the National Natural Science Fund of Guangdong (2015A030311024), the Science and Technology Plan of Guangzhou (158100075), and the Foundation from the President of Nanfang Hospital of Southern Medical University (2015C015).

Author contributions

PFL: protocol development, data collection and manuscript writing; HD: protocol development, data analysis and manuscript writing; JW: protocol development, data collection and manuscript writing; SPG: data analysis; GDS: data analysis; JYL: protocol development; LT: protocol development; YZ: protocol development; HJF: manuscript writing; PL: protocol development, data analysis and manuscript editing; CLC: protocol development, data analysis and manuscript editing.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from the participant included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyNanfang Hospital, Southern Medical UniversityGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.Department of Anatomy, Guangdong Province Key Laboratory of Medical Biomechanics, School of Basic Medicine ScienceSouthern Medical UniversityGuangzhouChina
  3. 3.Department of PathologyNanfang Hospital, Southern Medical UniversityGuangzhouChina

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