The dorsal nerve of the clitoris in relation to urinary incontinence sling procedures

Sone Van Der Walt*, Frans J. van Wijk, Zeelha Abdool, Anna Catherina Oettle

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


© 2016, The International Urogynecological Association. Introduction and hypothesis: To avoid injury to the perineal branches of the pudendal nerve during urinary incontinence sling procedures, a thorough knowledge of the course of these nerve branches is essential. The dorsal nerve of the clitoris (DNC) may be at risk when performing the retropubic (tension-free vaginal tape) procedure as well as the inside-out and outside-in transobturator tape procedures. The purpose of this study was to identify the anatomical relationships of the DNC to the tapes placed during the procedures mentioned and to determine the influence of body variations. Methods: In this cadaveric study, the body mass index (cBMI) of unembalmed cadavers was determined. Suburethral tape procedures were performed by a registered urologist and gynecologist on a sample of 15 female cadavers; six retropubic, seven inside-out and nine outside-in transobturator tapes were inserted. After embalmment, dissections were performed and the distances between the DNC and the tapes measured. Results: In general the trajectory of the outside-in tape was closer to the DNC than that of the other tapes. cBMI was weakly and nonsignificantly correlated with the distance between the trajectory of the tape and the DNC for the inside-out tape and the tension-free vaginal tape, but not for the outside-in tape. Conclusions: The findings suggest that the DNC is less likely to be injured during the inside-out tape procedure than during the outside-in procedure, regardless of BMI. Future studies on larger samples are desirable to confirm these findings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-123
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Urogynecology Journal and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Body mass index
  • Pudendal nerve
  • Retropubic tape
  • Transobturator tape


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