What is a vulvectomy and how is it performed?
What are the risks and side effects of having a vulvectomy?
What is recovery like?
You may need to stay in the hospital for a few days following your procedure. Often, a bladder catheter will be placed to drain your bladder of urine.
You will be taught how to clean your genitals and may be instructed to use Sitz baths. You will need to be careful drying your genitals. Your provider will give you specific instructions. If dressings are present, they will be looked at daily and removed when appropriate.
Your medical team will discuss with you the medications you will be taking, such as those for pain, blood clot, infection, and constipation prevention and/or other conditions.
What will I need at home?
• Soft, clean towels for cleaning and drying yourself.
• Sitz bath and a squirt bottle for vulvar hygiene, which is often given to you before leaving the hospital.
• Hair dryer with a cool setting or a circulating fan to dry the surgical area.
• Thermometer to check for fever, which can be a sign of infection.
• Loose clothing, cotton underwear.
How can I care for myself?
You may need a family member or friend to help you with your daily tasks until you are feeling better. It may take some time before your team tells you that it is ok to go back to your normal activity.
Be sure to take your prescribed medications as directed to prevent pain, infection and/or constipation. Call your team with any new or worsening symptoms.
There are ways to manage constipation after your surgery. You can change your diet, drink more fluids, and take over-the-counter medications. Talk with your care team before taking any medications for constipation.
Taking deep breaths and resting can help manage pain, keep your lungs healthy after anaesthesia, and promote good drainage of lymphatic fluid. Try to do deep breathing and relaxation exercises a few times a day in the first week, or when you notice you are extra tense.
• Example of a relaxation exercise: While sitting, close your eyes and take 5-10 slow deep breaths. Relax your muscles. Slowly roll your head and shoulders.