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Surgical Division of Labial Adhesions in Vulvar Lichen Sclerosus and Lichen Planus

Bradford, Jennifer MBBS, FRANZCOG1; Fischer, Gayle MD, MBBS, FACD2

Journal of Lower Genital Tract Disease: January 2013 - Volume 17 - Issue 1 - p 48–50
doi: 10.1097/LGT.0b013e31824f1427
Original Articles

Objective Vulvar lichen sclerosus (LS) and lichen planus (LP) may cause persistent symptomatic labial adhesions. In the scant literature on this topic, there is no agreement about which operation is suitable, or the role of suppressive medical therapy. We report on simple perineotomy in the context of careful preoperative and postoperative medical suppressions.

Materials and Methods Thirty-five patients were identified within a referral vulvar practice, with symptomatic labial adhesions due to LS or LP. After sharp dissection of adhesions and injection of anesthesia, patients doubled the frequency of their preoperative therapy and underwent close surveillance until complete healing had occurred. Suppression of the inflammatory process was continued indefinitely with regular review.

Results Mean age was 57 years. Of the patients, 27 had LS and 8 had LP. Of the 35 patients, 28 (80%) had dyspareunia or apareunia. Mean symptom duration was 9 years. Of the 35 patients, 21 had posterior fusion, 11 had anterior fusion, and 3 had both anterior and posterior fusions. Of the 35 patients, 17 had mild fusion, 11 had moderate fusion, and 7 had severe introital stenosis. At the 3-month review, 31 of the 35 patients had no refusion. Mean duration of follow-up was 2 years (range = 3 months to 7.5 years). Of the 35 patients, 29 had no late refusion during this time. Of the 18 patients with dyspareunia, 8 had no pain, and 9 had less pain. Of the 10 patients with apareunia, 1 could have sex without pain, and 6 could have sex but with pain.

Conclusion Simple perineotomy is adequate to treat persistent labial adhesions, provided that the inflammatory process is carefully suppressed.

Simple perineotomy is adequate to treat symptomatic labial fusion in inflammatory vulvar diseases, provided that preoperative and postoperative medical suppressions are used.

1Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Blacktown Hospital; and 2Department of Dermatology, Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney NSW, Australia

Reprint requests to: Jennifer Bradford, MBBS, FRANZCOG, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Blacktown Hospital, Sydney NSW, Australia. E-mail:

The authors declare they have nothing to disclose.

©2013The American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology