A Review of Reconstruction for Vulvar Cancer Surgery

Obstet Gynecol Surv. 2021 Feb;76(2):108-113. doi: 10.1097/OGX.0000000000000866.


Importance: Vulvar reconstruction may be required after vulvectomy or any vulvar surgery. Providers should be familiar with techniques for reconstruction to improve clinical outcomes.

Objective: This article reviews the different techniques for reconstruction after vulvectomy and describes the decision-making process for selection of appropriate techniques, postoperative care, and expected outcomes.

Evidence acquisition: A literature search was conducted, focusing on the plastic surgery and gynecologic oncology literature, using the following search terms: "vulvar reconstruction," "perineal reconstruction," "vulvectomy," and "vulvar cancer." The search was limited to English publications.

Results: Reconstruction after vulvectomy can be performed using a variety of techniques ranging from simple or complex closure to adjacent tissue rearrangement to skin grafting, locoregional, and free flaps. The appropriate technique is best chosen based on the characteristics of the patient and postablative defect, as well as the reconstructive goals. Postoperative complications are usually minor.

Conclusions: Vulvar reconstruction techniques vary widely and offer patients improved outcomes.

Relevance: Knowledge of vulvar reconstruction techniques is necessary for gynecologists performing vulvar surgery to ensure optimal patient outcomes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Gynecologic Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Humans
  • Plastic Surgery Procedures / methods*
  • Vulva / surgery*
  • Vulvar Diseases / surgery*
  • Vulvar Neoplasms / surgery