What should I do after a vulvar biopsy?

Follow your doctor's aftercare instructions after a vulvar biopsy.
Follow your doctor's aftercare instructions after a vulvar biopsy.

You should follow these instructions after a vulvar biopsy

  • Try to keep the biopsy site clean and dry.
  • Do not wash the biopsy area for 12 hours.
  • Apply direct pressure on the biopsy site if bleeding occurs.
  • Take a shower 24 hours after the biopsy.
  • Avoid hot bathtubs until healing is complete.
  • Wash the area once or twice daily and pat it dry.
  • Avoid sexual intercourse until the area has healed completely.

It takes approximately five days for complete healing while keeping it open. If there is a stitch, it will gradually dissolve over the next one to two weeks as the wound heals.

Why is a vulvar biopsy done?

A vulvar biopsy is a surgical procedure where a small piece of tissue is extracted from the vulva. A vulvar biopsy is performed in the following conditions

  • Areas of the skin that appear white or turn white when diluted with a vinegar-like solution
  • Patches of the skin that are red, brown, pink, gray or bumpy
  • A sore that doesn’t recover
  • A lump or growth on the vulva
  • Genital warts that don’t heal

When should a vulvar biopsy be avoided?

A vulvar biopsy should be avoided when

What should I expect during a vulvar biopsy?

Before the procedure

  • The physician will obtain your consent before the procedure.
  • Understand the procedure, including its risk and benefits.
  • You may be given painkillers to counter the pain felt during the procedure.
  • The doctor will apply local anesthesia to numb the area.

During the procedure

The biopsy is a quick procedure and can be performed in an office setting. The physician cleans the affected area with special swabs. Next, the physician uses a particular instrument known as a colposcope to select the site for a biopsy. A colposcope placed outside the body is a hand-held magnifying lens that lets the physician view even a small change in the skin of the vulva. The physician treats the vulva with a dilute solution of acetic acid that causes the cancerous areas of the skin to turn white. These changes are easily visible through a colposcope. Once the physician identifies the abnormal area, a local anesthetic is injected to numb the area. The physician using an instrument may either remove the entire abnormal area (excisional biopsy) or take a small piece of tissue (punch biopsy). If the physician takes a larger patch of skin, then it will require stitches to close it.

What are the complications of a vulvar biopsy?

The risks of a vulvar biopsy include

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Medically Reviewed on 11/8/2020
References
Medscape Medical Reference

American Cancer Society


UC San Diego Health