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A vulvectomy is done to remove the vulva or parts of it. The vulva is made up of the genital structures located on the outside of a female’s body. These structures are the clitoris, labia majora, and labia minora.
There are several types of vulvectomy surgery. The type you will have depends on what parts of the vulva and nearby tissue have been affected by cancer or abnormal skin. Examples include:
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
Once all affected areas have been removed, the doctor may need to reconstruct the vulva. If only a small amount of skin was removed, the remaining skin may be able to be stitched together. Sometimes, a
is needed. Temporary drains may be inserted to remove extra fluids from the incision area.
Right after the procedure, you will be in a recovery room where your blood pressure, pulse, and breathing will be monitored. Recovery may also include:
Antibiotics to prevent infection
Medication to prevent blood clots
Getting out of bed and walking around
During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to reduce your chance of infection such as:
Washing their hands
Wearing gloves or masks
Keeping your incisions covered
There are also steps you can take to reduce your chances of infection such as:
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
Self-care measures and medications will help ease swelling and pain. Physical and sexual activity may be restricted during this time, but complete rest is not necessary. You may be advised to do exercises to maintain strength and promote healing. To prevent infection at the incision site, follow instructions on how to clean and care for the wound.
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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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