Audit of 114 non-neoplastic vulvar biopsies

R J O'Keefe, J P Scurry, G Dennerstein, S Sfameni, J Brenan
British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 1995, 102 (10): 780-6

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to show the benefits and limitations of vulvar biopsy in the setting of a multidisciplinary clinic specialising in non-neoplastic diseases of the vagina and vulva.

DESIGN: One hundred and fourteen vulvar biopsies were reviewed and classified according to the classification of the International Society for the Study of Vulvar Diseases.

RESULTS: The histological diagnoses were lichen sclerosus 25%, lichen simplex chronicus 35%, non-erosive inflammatory dermatoses comprising psoriasis, spongiotic dermatitis, dermatophytosis and psoriasiform dermatitis 13%, erosive vulvitis and lichen planus 9%, nonspecific inflammation 6%, miscellaneous 9% and normal 4%.

CONCLUSIONS: Biopsies in cases of lichen sclerosus were useful for confirmation of clinical diagnosis and to exclude early invasive malignancy. In lichen simplex chronicus, biopsies helped exclude an underlying dermatosis requiring specific treatment. Psoriasis, spongiotic dermatitis, dermatophytosis and excoriated lichen simplex chronicus posed a common clinical differential diagnosis of the reddened vulva. The eroded vulva often proved a diagnostic problem clinically and histologically. The clinical syndrome of vestibulitis did not have a specific histological picture, and biopsies showed nonspecific inflammation, mild hyperplasia or were normal. No case of squamous cell hyperplasia was diagnosed and the place of this diagnosis in the ISSVD classification needs review.

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