A vulval biopsy is a medical procedure performed to remove a small sample of tissue from the vulva for further examination. This article provides an overview of vulval biopsy, including its purpose, procedure, and important considerations.
The vulva is the external part of the female genitalia. A vulval biopsy is typically conducted to evaluate abnormal changes or lesions on the vulva. The collected tissue sample is examined under a microscope to aid in the diagnosis of various vulvar conditions or diseases.
A healthcare provider may recommend a vulval biopsy for several reasons, including:
Suspicion of precancerous or cancerous cells on the vulva
Presence of vulvar lesions, ulcers, or growths
Persistent itching, pain, or discomfort in the vulvar area
Evaluation of inflammatory or infectious conditions affecting the vulva
About Vulval Biopsy
There are different types of vulval biopsies, including:
- Punch biopsy: A small circular tool is used to remove a small, cylindrical piece of tissue from the vulva.
- Excisional biopsy: A surgical procedure that involves removing the entire abnormal area or lesion on the vulva.
- Shave biopsy: The top layer of the vulvar tissue is gently shaved off to obtain a sample.
The choice of biopsy technique depends on the specific condition being evaluated and the healthcare provider's recommendation.
Before undergoing a vulval biopsy, a healthcare provider will guide you through the following preparation steps:
Medical evaluation: A thorough evaluation will be conducted to assess your overall health and identify any potential risks or complications.
Preoperative instructions: You may be advised to avoid certain medications, such as blood thinners, prior to the procedure. Your healthcare provider will provide specific instructions.
Consent and discussion: You will have an opportunity to discuss the procedure, its benefits, potential risks, and alternative treatment options. Consent for the biopsy will be obtained.
Procedure of Vulval Biopsy
The vulval biopsy procedure typically involves the following steps:
Positioning: You will be asked to lie down on an examination table with your legs positioned in stirrups, similar to a pelvic examination.
Numbing the area: A local anesthetic will be injected into the vulvar area to numb it and minimize any discomfort during the procedure.
Tissue removal: The healthcare provider will use the chosen biopsy technique (punch, excisional, or shave) to remove a small tissue sample from the vulva.
Hemostasis and dressing: If necessary, the healthcare provider will apply medication or use other methods to control any bleeding. A dressing may be applied to the biopsy site to protect it.