What is Vulvectomy? Overview, Benefits, and Expected Results
A vulvectomy is a surgical procedure in which the whole or part of the vulva, which is the external female genital area, is removed. It is most commonly performed to treat precancerous lesions, genital warts, and vulvar cancer. It can also be used to treat other conditions such as lichen sclerosis, abscesses, and endometriosis.
Vulvectomy is usually done under general anesthesia, but it can also be done under local anesthesia and sedation. The decision to undergo a vulvectomy depends on each patient since the procedure carries certain risks.
Types of Vulvectomy
The type of vulvectomy procedure performed is based on the type of condition present and the severity of symptoms. In some cases, a partial vulvectomy may be done if only a part of the vulva is affected, while in more severe cases, a radical vulvectomy may be done.
A partial vulvectomy is typically used to treat some cases of vulvar dystrophy, lichen simplex chronicus, and genital warts that are confined to a small area of the vulva. In this procedure, only a part of the affected area is removed while preserving some of the normal tissue.
A radical vulvectomy is used to treat vulvar cancer or pre-cancerous lesions. In this procedure, the entire vulva is removed along with the underlying lymph nodes. This is usually performed if the cancer is not confined to a localized spot and has spread to the tissue beneath the skin.
Recovery from A Vulvectomy
Recovery from a vulvectomy depends on the type of procedure performed and the individual patient. In cases of partial vulvectomy, patients may experience some discomfort and swelling as the affected area heals, but the recovery is generally a relatively fast process, with most patients returning to their normal activities within 1-2 weeks.
In cases of radical vulvectomy, the recovery is usually longer and more complex. After the procedure, patients may experience pain and swelling due to the extensive tissue removal. In addition, they may need to stay in the hospital for a few days to be monitored closely by the medical team. After discharge, patients should limit their activities for a few weeks to allow the affected area to heal properly.
Benefits of A Vulvectomy
A vulvectomy can provide many benefits for patients who need the procedure. In cases of precancerous lesions, the procedure can help reduce the risk of vulvar cancer and ensure early detection of cancerous cells.
In addition, the procedure can also be used to improve the symptoms of some conditions, such as vulvar dystrophy, lichen sclerosis, and genital warts. In some cases, a vulvectomy can also help improve the appearance and comfort of the affected area.
Expected Results from A Vulvectomy
The expected results from a vulvectomy depend on the type of procedure performed and the individual patient. In cases of partial vulvectomy, the healing process is typically fast with minimal scarring.
In cases of radical vulvectomy, the healing is slower and can involve more scarring. In most cases, the scarring is minimal and not noticeable after the area has healed. Nonetheless, scarring can still occur, depending on the extent of the tissue removal.
Risks and Complications Associated with Vulvectomy
A vulvectomy carries some risks and potential complications, with the most common being infection. Other risks include excessive bleeding, damage to the surrounding tissues, and the possibility of recurrence of symptoms if the condition was not completely removed.
In addition, patients who undergo vulvectomy may experience some side effects, such as pain, itching, inflammation, and difficulty urinating.
A vulvectomy is a surgical procedure that can be used to treat precancerous lesions, genital warts, and vulvar cancer. The type of procedure performed and the expected results depend on the individual patient and the type of condition present. The recovery from a vulvectomy can vary depending on the type of procedure performed. There are some risks and potential complications associated with a vulvectomy, so it is important for patients to discuss these with their doctor before deciding to proceed with the procedure.
التعريف والنظرة العامة
Vulvectomy is a surgery to remove a part or the entire vulva, the female external genitals, to treat vulvar cancer.
The vulva is composed of the:
- Vagina, which connects the vulva to the cervix and serves as a passage during childbirth. The cervix, on the other hand, links the vagina to the uterus or womb.
- Clitoris, a small projection that is considered to be the most sensitive part. It is mainly used to increase pleasure during sexual stimulation or intercourse.
- Labia, which refers to the genital’s inner and outer lips
- Opening of the urethra, where urine comes out
Vulva removal may be either simple, wherein either the side or upper or lower part of the vulva is taken away, or complete. Both may require the dissection of lymph nodes in the groin area if the reason for the procedure is cancer treatment.
من يجب أن يخضع للنتائج المتوقعة
Vulvectomy is usually one of the treatment options for patients diagnosed with vulvar cancer. A rare type of cancer, it is characterised by the presence of lesions in any part of the vulva.
Although the actual cause of vulvar cancer has not yet been identified, it has many risk factors including the presence of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, which also increases the possibility of cervical cancer, genital herpes infection, and vulval intraepithelial neoplasia (VIN), which is a pre-cancerous stage.
It may also be performed to correct congenital abnormalities, if any or all of the parts are injured, or the tissues have become necrotic. One of the major controversies involving vulvectomy is female genital mutilation (FMG), which is the removal of the clitoris and other parts of the vulva, on young women as a way of discouraging them from engaging in sexual intercourse or reducing pleasure during sex. The old practice is strongly condemned by many human rights groups and the World Health Organization.
As part of a cancer treatment, vulvectomy has a bigger chance of success if it’s done while the disease is still in the earliest stages wherein cancer cells in the lymph nodes have not yet developed. However, like other kinds of cancer therapies, it doesn’t completely prevent the disease from recurring or metastasizing to other genital organs like the cervix or the uterus.
كيف يعمل هذا الإجراء؟
If the vulva removal is for cancer treatment, the kind of surgery to be performed will depend on where the cancer is found, the health of the patient, cancer stage, expected outcome, and risks and complications.
The surgeon usually carries it out in a two-step process. He begins by dissecting the lymph nodes in the groin area to check for any presence of cancer. The surgery can be stopped and reevaluated, including other possible treatments like radiotherapy or العلاج الكيميائي, if the result is positive.
In the actual surgery, the surgeon uses different instruments, including a scalpel, to remove the area where the lesion is found. He also takes along with it a part of a tissue, which is then used to check for cancer cells. The excision of tissues will continue until the lab result reveals no more presence of cancer.
Depending on the part that has been taken away, a catheter may be used for a couple of weeks to help the patient urinate while the surgical wounds are healing. The surgeon may also add a graft material to make the vaginal area appear as normal as possible.
If the cancer is already in the advanced stage, which means it has gone deeper into the tissues and the female reproductive area, vulva removal is followed by cervicectomy (removal of the cervix) or hysterectomy (removal of the uterus).
المخاطر والمضاعفات المحتملة
Aside from usual surgical complications like infection, bleeding, pain, and discharges, the patient may also experience decreased sexual pleasure and mental ضغط عصبى.
Niederhuber JE, et al., eds. Cancers of the cervix, vulva and vagina. In: Abeloff’s Clinical Oncology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Sept. 4, 2015.
Lentz GM, et al. Neoplastic diseases of the vulva. In: Comprehensive Gynecology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2012. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Sept. 4, 2015.