In spite of efforts to reduce complications associated with inguinal- femoral lymphadenectomy (IFL), morbidity continues to be substantial. We sought to assess the efficacy of sartorius transposition (ST) in reducing groin wound complications following IFL, in patients with vulvar malignancy. The records of 101 patients with vulvar cancer undergoing IFL through separate incisions between March 1975 and December 1994 were examined. Sixty-two patients undergoing ST (group 1) were compared to 38 who did not (group 2). The groups were similar with respect to age, weight, tobacco/alcohol use, prior abdominal/vulvar surgery, prevalence of diabetes, hypertension, or peripheral vascular disease, and previous exposure to irradiation or chemotherapy. Additionally, there was no significant difference with respect to extent of disease, incidence of macro- /microscopic groin metastases, use of groin drains, and use of perioperative antibiotics or deep venous thrombosis prophylaxis. Groin wound complications were less frequent in patients undergoing ST (group 1). The incidence of groin cellulitis was 30% in group 1 compared with an incidence of 58% in group 2 (P = 0.011). Significant groin wound morbidity, defined as either wound breakdown or cellulitis, was seen less frequently in group 1 (41% vs 66%; P = 0.029). Employing a multivariate analysis, only patient weight <150 lbs and performance of ST were established as independently associated with a reduction in groin morbidity following IFL (P = 0.0281 and P = 0.0075, respectively). In conclusion, despite waning enthusiasm for its performance, ST appeared to significantly reduce the incidence of wound morbidity after IFL. Our data confirmed that separate incisions, and improved perioperative antibiotics, have not eliminated the value inherent in this surgical modification. We suggest a prospective trial to further establish the benefit of sartorius transposition during IFL.