Vulvectomy is performed for both preinvasive and malignant conditions of the vulva. This procedure may vary in extent from a skinning procedure performed for multicentric intraepithelial neoplasia to a radical vulvectomy combined with bilateral inguinofemoral lymph node dissections for invasive carcinoma. The radical procedure has changed during the past decade and may range from hemivulvectomy with unilateral inguinofemoral lymph node dissection to an en bloc resection including bilateral inguinofemoral lymph nodes. Lateralizing stage T1 lesions smaller than 2 cm are treated with a radical hemivulvectomy and ipsilateral lymph nodes dissection. For larger or midline lesions, attempts are made to perform a radical vulvectomy and bilateral inguinofemoral lymph node dissections through separate incisions (three incision technique). This generally results in fewer postoperative complications (e.g., wound infection) and a shorter hospital stay. Depending on the extent of resection, myocutaneous flaps may be needed to fill the operative defect. The time necessary for this operation is 2 to 5 hours and varies according to the extent of resection and reconstruction. General, regional, or combination anesthesia can be equally efficacious. Intraoperative transfusions are not routinely required during radical vulvectomy.
Usual postoperative course
Expected postoperative hospital stay
The duration of hospitalization ranges from 4 to 21 days, depending on the extent of resection, the required reconstruction, and the rate of wound healing.
Special monitoring required
Patients undergoing radical vulvectomy do not require specific monitoring.