Vulval biopsy

A vulval biopsy is when a doctor takes a small sample of tissue from an abnormal area of the vulva.

What is a vulval biopsy?

A vulval biopsy is a small sample of body tissue. During a vulval examination, the doctor collects samples from the affected area of the vulva. They send these to a laboratory to be examined under a microscope.

A biopsy can help to diagnose vulval cancer.

What happens during a biopsy?

Before taking a sample, the doctor numbs the skin of the vulva with a small injection of local anaesthetic. This may sting for a few seconds. When they take the sample of tissue it should not hurt, but sometimes it can feel uncomfortable.

If the vulval area is painful, you may have your biopsy taken under a general anaesthetic.

After a vulva biopsy

After the biopsy, you may have some bleeding for a few days. This should gradually stop. If it gets worse or continues, tell your doctor. You should use sanitary pads rather than tampons until the bleeding has settled. Keep the area clean by rinsing with water after every bowel movement.

You may also feel sore. Painkillers or a warm bath can help.

It will take about 7 to 10 days for the results of your biopsy to be ready. Waiting for your results can be a difficult time. It may help to talk to a relative or close friend.

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    This information has been written, revised and edited by Macmillan Cancer Support’s Cancer Information Development team. It has been reviewed by expert medical and health professionals and people living with cancer. It has been approved by Senior Medical Editor, Professor Nick Reed, Consultant Clinical Oncologist.

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Date reviewed

Reviewed: 30 April 2021
Next review: 30 April 2024

This content is currently being reviewed. New information will be coming soon.

Trusted Information Creator - Patient Information Forum
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