ORIGINAL RESEARCH—SURGERY: Surgical Treatment of Vulvar Vestibulitis Syndrome: Outcome Assessment Derived from a Postoperative Questionnaire


Andrew T. Goldstein, MD, Center for Vulvovaginal Disorders, 908 New Hampshire Avenue N.W. Suite 200, Washington, Washington, DC, 20037 USA. Tel: 202-887-0568; Fax: 410-757-8741; E-mail: obstetrics@yahoo.com


Introduction.  Vulvar vestibulitis syndrome (VVS) is the most common pathology in women with sexual pain. Surgery for VVS was first described in 1981. Despite apparently high surgical success rates, most review articles suggest that surgery should be used only “as a last resort.” Risks of complications such as bleeding, scarring, and recurrence of symptoms are often used to justify these cautionary statements. However, there are little data in the peer-reviewed literature to justify this cautionary statement.

Aims.  To determine patient satisfaction with vulvar vestibulectomy for VVS and the rate of complications with this procedure.

Methods.  Women who underwent a complete vulvar vestibulectomy with vaginal advancement by one of three different surgeons were contacted via telephone by an independent researcher between 12 and 72 months after surgery.

Main Outcome Measures.  The primary outcome measurement of surgical success was overall patient satisfaction with surgery. Additional secondary outcome measurements included improvement in dyspareunia, changes in coital frequency, and occurrence of surgical complications.

Results.  In total, 134 women underwent surgery in a 5-year period. An independent research assistant was able to contact 106 women, and 104 agreed to participate in the study. Mean duration since surgery was 26 months. A total of 97 women (93%) were satisfied, or very satisfied, with the outcome of their surgery. Only three patients (3%) reported persistently worse symptoms after surgery and only seven (7%) reported permanent recurrence of any symptoms after surgery. Prior to surgery, 72% of the women were completely apareunic; however, after surgery, only 11% were unable to have intercourse.

Discussion.  In this cohort of patients, there was a high degree of satisfaction with surgery for VVS. In addition, the risks of complications with this procedure were low, and most complications were transient and the risk of recurrence after surgery was also found to be low. Goldstein AT, Klingman D, Christopher K, Johnson C, and Marinoff SC. Surgical treatment of vulvar vestibulitis syndrome: Outcome assessment derived from a postoperative questionnaire. J Sex Med 2006;3:923–931.