Vulvar lesion excision

Surgery is the most common treatment for cancer of the vulva. The goal of surgery is to remove all the cancer without any loss of the woman's sexual function. One of the following types of surgery may be done:Wide local excision: A surgical procedure to remove the cancer and some of the normal tissue around the cancer.

  • Radical local excision: A surgical procedure to remove the cancer and a large amount of normal tissue around it. Nearby lymph nodes in the groin may also be removed.
  • Vulvectomy: A surgical procedure to remove part or all of the vulva:
    • Skinning vulvectomy: The top layer of vulvar skin where the cancer is found is removed. Skin grafts from other parts of the body may be needed to cover the area.
    • Simple vulvectomy: The entire vulva is removed.
    • Modified radical vulvectomy: The part of the vulva that contains cancer and some of the normal tissue around it are removed.
    • Radical vulvectomy: The entire vulva, including the clitoris, and nearby tissue are removed. Nearby lymph nodes may also be removed.
  • Pelvic exenteration: A surgical procedure to remove the lower colon, rectum, and bladder. The cervix, vagina, ovaries, and nearby lymph nodes are also removed. Artificial openings (stoma) are made for urine and stool to flow from the body into a collection bag.

Even if the doctor removes all the cancer that can be seen at the time of the surgery, some patients may have chemotherapy or radiation therapy after surgery to kill any cancer cells that are left. Treatment given after the surgery, to lower the risk that the cancer will come back, is called adjuvant therapy.