(Skinning Vulvectomy; Partial Vulvectomy; Radical Vulvectomy; Simple Vulvectomy; Vulvectomy—Skinning; Vulvectomy—Partial; Vulvectomy—Radical; Vulvectomy—Simple)
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Reasons for Procedure
- Pain, numbness, or tenderness of the vulva
- Wound not closing properly
- Blood clots in the legs
- Tightness or dryness of the vagina
- Inability to have an orgasm
- Chronic leg swelling
- Reaction to anesthesia
- Chronic disease such as diabetes or obesity
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
- Do a physical exam and review your medical history
- Perform blood and imaging tests
Talk to you about any medications, herbs, and dietary supplements you may be taking—You may be asked to stop taking some medications up to one week before the procedure, like:
- Aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs
- Blood thinners (such as warfarin, clopidogrel )
- Arrange for a ride to and from the hospital.
- The night before surgery, do not eat or drink after midnight.
Description of the Procedure
- Skinning vulvectomy—removes the top layer of skin
- Simple vulvectomy—removes multiple layers of skin and tissue
- Partial vulvectomy—removes a part of the vulva, as well as some nearby tissue and lymph nodes
- Radical vulvectomy—removes the entire vulva, including nearby tissue and lymph nodes
How Long Will It Take?
How Much Will It Hurt?
Average Hospital Stay
- Begin drinking clear fluids. You will slowly progress to solid food.
- Do breathing exercises to help prevent chest infections.
- Get up and walk to relieve gas and prevent blood clots.
- Washing their hands
- Wearing gloves or masks
- Keeping your incisions covered
- Washing your hands often and reminding visitors and healthcare providers to do the same
- Reminding your healthcare providers to wear gloves or masks
- Not allowing others to touch your incisions
- If you have a dressing, follow instructions for changing and removing it.
- Keep your legs apart.
- After a bowel movement, wipe yourself from front to back.
- Take a sitz bath three times a day and after a bowel movement—A sitz bath is soaking the hip and buttocks area in warm water. You can buy a plastic sitz bath at most drugstores. You can also use your bathtub.
- Clean the area with natural soap (such as glycerin) or plain warm water.
- Keep the vulvar area dry. Dry yourself with a clean towel or use a hair dryer at a low setting.
- Wear loose clothing and cotton underwear.
- Avoid wearing pantyhose or girdles.
- Move your legs while you are in bed to prevent blood clots.
- Your doctor will let you know when you can have sex again.
- Follow your doctor’s instructions.
Call Your Doctor
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- Redness, swelling, increasing pain, tenderness, a lot of bleeding, or discharge from the surgery site
- Pain, redness, hot skin, or swelling in your legs
- Burning or pain when urinating
- Pain not controlled by the medication given
- Nausea or vomiting
- Abdominal pain, chest pain, or trouble breathing
- Wound opens
American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists http://www.acog.org
Women's Health.gov http://www.womenshealth.gov
Society of Gynecologic Oncology of Canada http://www.g-o-c.org
Women's Health Matters http://www.womenshealthmatters.ca
After surgery for vulval cancer. Macmillan Cancer Support website. Available at: http://www.macmillan.org.uk/Cancerinformation/Cancertypes/Vulva/Livingwithvulvalcancer/Aftersurgery.aspx. Updated June 1, 2009. Accessed November 26, 2010.
Dictionary of cancer terms. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/dictionary/?CdrID=443588. Accessed November 26, 2010.
Dictionary of cancer terms. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/dictionary/?CdrID=443589. Accessed November 26, 2010.
Having your operation for vulval cancer. Cancer Research UK website. Available at: http://www.cancerhelp.org.uk/type/vulval-cancer/treatment/surgery/having-your-operation-for-vulval-cancer. Accessed November 26, 2010.
Jolicoeur L. Vulvectomy—a patient's guide. The Society of Gynecologic Oncology of Canada website. Available at: http://www.g-o-c.org/en/patientadvocacy/cancers/vulvptguide.aspx. Accessed November 26, 2010.
Surgery for vulval cancer. Macmillan Cancer Support website. Available at: http://www.macmillan.org.uk/Cancerinformation/Cancertypes/Vulva/Treatingvulvalcancer/Surgery.aspx. Updated September 1, 2009. Accessed November 26, 2010.
Vulvar cancer treatment. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/vulvar/Patient/page4. Accessed November 26, 2010.
Which surgery for vulval cancer? Cancer Research UK website. Available at: http://www.cancerhelp.org.uk/type/vulval-cancer/treatment/surgery/which-surgery-for-vulval-cancer. Accessed November 26, 2010.
- Reviewer: Mohei Abouzied, MD
- Review Date: 12/2013 -
- Update Date: 02/04/2014 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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