What is a Vaginal or Perineal Biopsy?
A vaginal or perineal biopsy is a test to see if suspicious cells or growths in the vagina or vulva are cancerous. This involves removing a small piece of tissue from the area in a simple outpatient procedure. The procedure may be referred to as vaginal biopsy, perineal biopsy, or vulvar biopsy.
When is a Vaginal or Perineal Biopsy Necessary?
Your OB/GYN may suggest a biopsy if there are patches of skin or tissue on the vagina or vulva which look abnormal. These can include:
- White areas of skin
- Sores that will not heal
- Lumps or growths
- Genital warts that will not subside
- Pink, red, gray, brown, or bumpy patches of skin
Prior to a biopsy, you may notice these abnormal areas yourself or your OB/GYN may notice them during a routine checkup. A biopsy will be performed to ensure the cells are not cancerous.
The Vaginal or Perineal Biopsy Procedure
A vaginal or perineal biopsy is a quick procedure which can be completed on an outpatient basis in our office. Before your biopsy, you may be told to take an over-the-counter pain medication. First, the area will be cleansed and local anesthesia will be administered using a small needle. When the area is numb, your OB/GYN may then use a colposcope to more clearly see the area if necessary. A small sample of tissue is then removed from the area using either a circular tool (punch biopsy) or scalpel. If necessary, the entire patch of abnormal cells or growth may be removed. Before your biopsy, your doctor will explain how much tissue will be removed. If needed, sutures can then be used to close larger incisions. When these steps are complete, your doctor will explain how to care for the area as you heal, and you can return home after the procedure.
Following a biopsy, the tissue sample will be examined under a microscope by a pathologist, who will check whether the cells are precancerous or cancerous. Results from these tests are usually available about a week after your biopsy, and your OB/GYN will inform you of any follow-up tests or procedures if they are necessary.
Recovery After Vaginal or Perineal Biopsy
Most patients are comfortable returning to their normal routines immediately after their vaginal or perineal biopsy. It is important to keep the area as clean and dry as possible, and you can shower or bathe as soon as you wish following the procedure. After showering or bathing, gently pat the area dry with a clean towel. Some patients find it helpful to coat the area with a thin layer of petroleum jelly (Vaseline) as it heals to prevent irritation or discomfort. Your OB/GYN will explain what to expect during your appointment.
You should call your OB/GYN if you experience symptoms including fever, redness or swelling in the area, heavy vaginal bleeding, or foul-smelling discharge. These can be signs of infection or other complications.
Schedule an Appointment
To schedule an appointment at Carnegie Women’s Health in Manhattan, call (315) 628-7063 or contact us online.