Simple vulvectomy takes out the entire vulva but no lymph nodes.

Partial vulvectomy takes out less the entire vulva.

Radical vulvectomy takes out the entire vulva, but a deeper and more profound dissection. This is usually accompanied by removal of the inguinal (groin) lymph nodes.

Where is the procedure done?

Simple and partial vulvectomies are usually done in the outpatient setting. The procedure usually takes about 1 hour. Radical vulvectomies are done in the inpatient setting, usually take 2 1/2-3 hours, and will require a 3-5 day hospital stay. You will be in the recovery room for 1-2 hours.

What do I need to do prior to the procedure?

Most vulvectomies are done under general anesthesia. Because of this you cannot have anything to eat or drink after midnight the night before your surgery. You will be given specific instructions if bowel prep is needed. You may also be given a prescription for pain medicine.

What can I expect after the procedure?

You will be given medication to help ease your discomfort. After you are home, it may be comforting to mix crushed ice and cold water in a ziplock bag and place on the area of pain. Sitting on an air cushion may also be helpful.

The sutures used are dissolvable and may pull out or separate at the edges. In some instances these are removed in the office if they are not dissolved by follow-up visit.

What do I need to do after the procedure?

Depending on the type of vulvectomy, follow-up care and instructions may include:

  • To aid healing and to help prevent infection, you should refrain from sexual intercourse, using tampons, vaginal douching, public pools and hot tubs.
  • To help keep the area clean, you may be instructed on the use of a sitz bath. To do a sitz bath at home, place a clean towel in the bottom of the tub, and run warm water continuously and lift the towel to let water out after it gets just deep enough to cover the area. Keep running the water and repeating. It is best to do sitz bathes after bowel movements and urinating.
  • For comfort and cleansing, use a squirt bottle filled with warm water.
  • After cleansing dry area with a hair dryer on low setting.
  • Avoid constipation by using a stool softener as needed and drinking 6-8 glasses of fluid a day.
  • To avoid stress to the area, refrain from activities such as jogging or horseback riding, avoid prolonged sitting, and wear loose fitted clothing.

When should I call the doctor?

Please notify our office if you experience a fever over 101 degrees, foul smelling discharge, heavy bleeding, clots, or if you experience increased pain that is not relieved with your prescribed pain medication.


Please call the office for a follow-up appointment 3-4 weeks after your surgery.