Home Care after Vulvectomy
You must follow strict discharge instructions after your vulvectomy. Taking care of your surgical site and watching for problems are a vital part in healing well.
Care of your surgical site
Each time you urinate or have a bowel movement, you must rinse this area very well with warm water. Use the squirt bottle or sitz bath you were given. You need to gently pat dry with a soft towel to prevent any skin breakdown, then dry this area very well using a blow dryer. We suggest using a hair dryer for at least 5-10 minutes on the cool setting. This is simpler to do if you are lying down in bed.
What to expect after surgery
- You will be in the hospital for 4 to 7 days.
- You may feel pain or soreness at the surgical site.
- You may have some light blood-tinged drainage for 1-2 weeks.
- If you have staples in your groin, these will be removed in 12-14 days at your return clinic visit.
- If you had drains placed you may clean the drain sites with mild soap and water daily to prevent any infection. Most drains will be taken out before you go home. If you go home with drains, your nurse will teach you how to care for the drains and how to measure the drainage daily.
- You may have some mild swelling at the surgical site.
- You will go home with stitches in. They will dissolve slowly over time.
- You may have a change in the direction of your urine stream or it may spray in a way it didn't before. Most often, it will help if you sit further back on the toilet.
When to call the doctor
- If you have a fever of 100.4°F or higher for 2 readings taken 4 hours apart
- If you have swelling in your groin
- If you have pain or soreness that is not relieved by Tylenol®, Advil®, or the prescription pain medicine
- If your incision pulls apart or breaks down
- If your groin incisions become red or warm to the touch
- If you have foul-smelling drainage
UWHC GYN ONC Clinic
To reach a nurse, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday – Friday: (608) 263-1548
After 5:00 pm, nights, weekends, and holidays, please call (608) 263-1548 or 1-800-323-8942. Ask for the GYN resident on call. Leave your name and phone number with the area code. The doctor will call you back.
The Spanish version of this Health Facts for You is #7094.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 05/20/2011
Copyright © 05/19/2011 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#5638
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