Possible removal of groin lymph nodes
What kind of surgery will I be having?
Your doctor has arranged for you to have a vulvectomy. This surgery removes a portion of the vulva. Another term for this is wide local excision of the vulva. This may be performed for vulva cancer, pre-cancerous lesions or other skin conditions of the vulva. Depending on your diagnosis and what you and your doctor decide, you may also have some lymph nodes from your groin removed.
The vulva is the external (outside) part of the female genitals. The vulva includes the outer and inner lip, the clitoris, and the openings to the urethra and the vagina.
There are different types of surgery for the vulva:
1. Wide local excision of vulva: This involves removing the lesion (abnormality) on the vulva with some normal skin and tissue around the lesion. Other names for this procedure are partial or simple vulvectomy.
2. Radical wide local excision of vulva: This involves removing the lesion on the vulva with a larger area of skin (1 to 2 cm) and deeper tissue. Other names for this procedure include radical vulvectomy.
If you have a diagnosis of vulva cancer the lymph nodes in one or both groins may be removed. This will have been discussed with your doctor. The procedure is called Inguinofemoral lymphadenectomy: Lymph nodes that lie close to skin surface and possibly the deep lymph nodes of the groin are removed through small cuts at the groin.
After your Surgery & What to expect during your recovery
Where will I be staying at the hospital after my surgery?
After your surgery, you will wake up in the recovery room. When you are fully awake and stable, you will be brought back to the ward.
How long will I be in the hospital?
Some patients may go home the same day of surgery. If your doctor admits you to hospital after surgery you will be in the hospital between 1 and 5 days depending the extended of your surgery
What can I expect to feel during recovery at the hospital?
After your surgery you will have:
A cut on your vulva that has been closed with sutures.
An intravenous line for fluids
You may also need to have:
A bladder catheter (tube) to drain urine from your bladder. Your doctor will decide when it can be removed. In some cases you may need to go home with a catheter. If you go home with a catheter you will be given instruction about how to look after it
Drain(s) in your groin incision (cut) if you had groin nodes removed. This drains lymph fluid and may be left in place for several days.
Right after your surgery, your nurse will ask you to breathe deeply and cough.
You will feel pain at the incision sites (vulva or groin).
Your pain will be monitor and you will be given painkillers by mouth
Food and drink
Your bowel may not begin to work again until about 1-2 days after surgery. Your health care team will tell you when you are able to eat or drink
Most patients go home the day after surgery and therefore are up and walking. The first day after your surgery the nurse will help you get out of bed and walk. Wiggle your toes and move your feet often while you are in bed. This helps to increase circulation in your legs and prevent blood clots.
You will likely be able to shower in the first couple days after surgery. Check with your doctor before taking a bath. The vulva can be a difficult area to keep clean.
You may experience constipation because of your surgery, the general anesthetic used to put you to sleep, and/or pain medication. You will be given stool softeners and laxatives to help with constipation. Try to walk as much as you can because walking helps you to pass gas and ease the discomfort.
If you have any queries you can contact us on Tel: 0207 034 8677