Vulvar Vestibulitis Support Network

the chronicle of broken Vaginas, what we've done to try and fix them, and how we plan to save the World

An Article on VVS Surgery November 13, 2007

 Note: This is the best article I’ve seen so far regarding this surgery, which I personally have had twice. I found it on careplace.com, where NVVO has recently formed an online group. Come join if you’d like!

– Julie

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What is Vestibulectomy?

Skinning vestibulectomy with perineoplasty and vaginal advancement is still a gold standard for women with vulvar vestibulitis.

This is a procedure, which removes the tender areas of the skin within the vestibule (the area between the lower vagina and just within the vulva). The amount of tissue removed is variable and depends on your symptoms and the surgeon in charge of your care. Sometimes only isolated areas of skin are removed from the lower part of the vestibule and in other women with extensive symptoms, larger areas of the vestibule can be removed up to the front of the vagina near the urethra, where you pass urine. Other procedures are less commonly performed and these include removal of the labial skin and the skin near the back passage. The procedures are usually carried out in hospital under general anaesthetic and take around 10-40 minutes, depending on the surgeon. Dissolvable stitches are usually used to cover the defects where the tender areas of skin were removed. After the operation you might be sent home either the same day or a day or so later. Obviously you need time to recover from this and this is variable — anything from 6-12 weeks. Your doctor may advise use of other treatments following surgery and this might include the use of creams (steroid creams, emollients), the use of vaginal dilators (to prevent scar tissue reforming) and a review by a pain management team or possibly a psychosexual counsellor.

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15 Responses to “An Article on VVS Surgery”

  1. Shannon Says:

    I need to get surgery for this. I have been dealing with it for a long time now. I have tried creams and pills and its not going away. Does anyone have any recommendations for surgeons who can do this surgery for me who know what they are doing?

  2. Margie Says:

    Mydaugher is going through the same thing. She wants to get the surgery but is apprehensive about it. There seem to be so many other variables involved in this area of the body. Could you please forward doctors to me if you would be so kind. Thank you very much.

    Margie S

  3. julieannpdx Says:

    Hi Margie!

    What state do you live in? I will then mail you what I/we know.
    I’ve had two surgeries. But you are right, there are indeed many variables! And what works for one woman (or some) doesn’t always work for others. It’s so frustrating and upsetting!!!

    Julie

  4. Josy Says:

    Hi there all!!

    I am scheduled to have my vestibulectomy in 2 days time! On the 17th. I have had VV for six and a half years and I have tried EVERYTHING! Nothing gives me relief. I have pain around the urethra and in the area of the skene’s glands. It hurts on touch / pressure only. Sometimes it is a scratchy pain and other times it feels like a deep bruise. How many of you have had this operation? What was the recovery like? And Julieann, why did you have it twice?? I am so nervous…

  5. Kelly Says:

    I’m so happy you have this site. In case you didn’t know, there are two types of VVS, primary and secondary. Your stories fit the secondary side of VVS. For women who have suffered from severe pain and burning since your first attempt at intercourse, check out http://vvssupport.blogspot.com/ . Two lovely ladies met by chance over VVS, both with primary and are here to help! We are each dealing with 2 of the best doctors to treat VVS and will continue to post our information and experiences through this tough journey.

  6. Carolyn Eileen Says:

    I’m 20 years old and a sophomore in college. My boyfriend of 2 and a half years and I have been unable to have pain-free sex for our entire relationship. Penetration is horrible…the burning and tugging pain around the opening makes sex my least favorite activity, shouldn’t it be one of your favorites? I have been diagnosed with vulvodynia/vaginismus…pretty much anything that starts with a “v”. By this point my symptoms in other regions of my vagina have been lessened by use of Neurontin and Cymbalta, however, sex is still horribly painful around the opening. I was referred by my gyn to a “Dr. Goldstein” of the DC/New York area and hear he is one of the best doctor’s to deal with what my gyn says may in fact be “vestibulitus”. I just got off the phone with the office and apparently they don’t take insurance so for both the inital visit (1300) and the surgery (8500), I would have to pay around 10,000 dollars. Remember, I’m in college. I have 1,000 dollars in my bank account. I can’t imagine this guy to be the only one who performs these surgeries…any suggestions?
    Also, does anyone who has had widespread vaginal pain in the past but is being treated for that have the vestibulectomy and see results? I’m desperate, I just want something to work for me.

  7. Tracy Says:

    Hello all! I am so glad I found this website where I can talk with other women that are experiencing the same horrendous illness that I am. After suffering for 8 years (and trying every option other than surgery) I have decided to go ahead with the surgery. I am extremely terrified of the 3% that had their symptoms worsen after surgery. I can’t imagine any pain more unbearable than what I am currently experiencing. So, obviously, I want to go to the best surgeon possible. I live in Atlanta and would prefer to go to someone local but am willing to drive/fly if necessary. I have spoken with Dr. Goldstein in DC and he is a possibility but as mentioned by someone else before I would have to front $10,000-$12,000 and I just don’t have it. Any suggestions for someone in the Atlanta area?

    Thanks a lot!

  8. Marion Says:

    I had vestibulitis and had two operations in 2004 to remove the glands. I still had pain after the operation and so they did the second one. I still had some issues after but I think that was more in my head because of issues with my partner. I am pleased to say that I am now 95% “normal”. I used to be really bad. I felt like someone was sticking a corkscrew up me some days, had pain when walking and swelled up loads. I still get odd bits of pain when I’m stressed and am still a bit nervous about sex sometimes but it’s stopped hurting most of the time. I get odd flare ups but it’s rare and manageable with the anaesthetic cream and pain killers. Wearing the wrong underwear and tight jeans can cause me pain when walking but it’s not stopping me in my tracks like before. Would definately recommend surgery. I am 32 now and it’s taken me a few years to get over the issues this caused me but there is life after it 🙂

  9. Raychel Says:

    Hey, guys.

    I had a vestibulectomy four days ago, so while it’s too soon to tell if it helped, I feel all your pain! I’ve had these issues for 2 years now, starting when I was 31, and with NO history of vaginal problems at all up to then.

    I live in Southern California, and thought about Dr Goldstein, but no, he doesn’t take insurance, and..he has horrible reviews from patients who say he did not help them, had a nasty attitude, etc.

    I wasn’t willing to risk flying all that way and spending all that money, not to mention my sanity for another dead end.

    I saw a gynecologist/oncologist who performs surgery here in Southern CA, and I feel she’s been the best Dr yet..and I have seen around 10!

    Urogynecologists do the procedures, so you all may want to research to see your options in your area. There is no need to travel very far..the surgery itself is not complicated for a urogynecologist, or anyone else experienced with vaginal surgery.

    Sadly, these problems and procedures are a lot more common than they were ten years ago, so many more doctors know about it now, which is good news for us.

    I saw a vulvar specialist in Phoenix several times…drove six hours each way and booked a hotel room just so he could misdiagnose me based on nothing, and repeatedly test me for yeast infections. Like my doctors hadn’t already done that dozens of times, right?

    All tests were always negative, so he just gave up after a while.

    I know all about wasted time and dashed hopes.

    Find a good urogynecologist, or oncology-gyno in your area, you’ll be glad!

  10. mylifewithvvs Says:

    Hello everyone! I am scheduled to get surgery for VVS at the end of the month. I will be sharing my experiences during the recovery period on my blog linked below…

    http://www.mylifewithvvs.blogspot.com

    I think the most important thing is to realize that if you are struggling with vulvar vestibulitis, you are not alone and I am happy to talk about any of the treatments I’ve tried if you have any questions or comments.

    • jul Says:

      Your comment was blocked in the Spam folder — I’m so sorry! This is fantastic – thank you for sharing your blog link, and for doing the blog for sure!! I wish I woulda done that — excellent idea, and thank you again!!!

  11. heather Says:

    i am 27 years old and i am scheduled for preop for a vestibulectomy on the 13. i am scared to death but have tried everything you could think of. i had a hysterectomy a few months back but that didnt help anything but the bleeding 😦 i pray this surgery goes well because my sex life sux. im tired of hurting all the time. prayers would be nice

  12. hopeful at last Says:

    Hi everyone,

    I had a vulval vestibulectomy almost 2 months ago now – my procedure was quite extensive, it involved complete removal of the skin at the entrance to the vagina, removal of glands, and splitting the skin up to the urethra. The good news is the pain I had at the entrance to the vagina seems to have settled a lot. I saw my doctor a week ago and he’s confident I will be able to have pain free intercourse (yay!). However, I’m experiencing heightened pain, and sense of urgency around the bladder opening. The doctor said it’s because this area is bruised. He says it can take a while for the bruising to go away. I’m wondering if anyone who has been through this surgery had a similar experience with the increased sense of urgency and pain around the bladder opening, and had ‘bruising’ because to me the skin doesn’t look bruised, just red…but maybe that’s what vaginal bruising looks like? Any words of comfort welcome 🙂

  13. Ashley leger Says:

    I am 23 years old, never been sexually active. I recently had a vestibulectomy about 2 weeks ago. There has been weird drainage and I can’t tell if it’s from the insision. It’s yellowish pink and there is a LOT of it. The skin looks yellowish too, but I don’t know if its just the skin healing. The area is very itchy and I can’t stand wearing pads, they are giving me a rash. I can’t make the drainage/discharge stop!


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