Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery
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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 259-260
Cryosurgical management of symptomatic vulvar vestibular papillomatosis

Department of Dermatology, Lisa Skin Clinic, Kozhikode, Kerala, India

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Date of Web Publication07-Sep-2020

How to cite this article:
Mathew J, Muhammed Kutty S. Cryosurgical management of symptomatic vulvar vestibular papillomatosis. J Cutan Aesthet Surg 2020;13:259-60

How to cite this URL:
Mathew J, Muhammed Kutty S. Cryosurgical management of symptomatic vulvar vestibular papillomatosis. J Cutan Aesthet Surg [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Mar 7];13:259-60. Available from:


Vulvar vestibular papillomatosis (VVP) is an anatomic or functional variant of the normal genital mucosa commonly mistaken for genital warts. We report this case to highlight the need for dermato-venereologists to become familiar with this rare entity, thus avoiding unnecessary concerns and investigations, and to consider cryotherapy as a treatment modality in symptomatic cases.

A 21-year-old woman married for 1 year presented with small raised lesions on her vulva associated with pruritus of 6-month duration. She and her partner were in a monogamous relationship without any history of extramarital sexual contacts. Examination showed multiple, small, soft, shiny, smooth-surfaced, non-tender monomorphic papules 1–3 mm in diameter with bases separate from each other, colored same as that of adjacent mucosa, symmetrically distributed over inner aspect of labia minora and vestibule with negative acetowhite test [Figure 1]. These were the typical clinical findings of VVP. Dermatoscopy using Heine NC2 Dermatoscope (Heine Optotechnik, Herrsching, Germany; ×10 magnification, polarized mode) showed uniformly sized teardrop-shaped transparent juxtaposed papillae with separate bases with irregular vascular pattern in the core confirming the diagnosis.
Figure 1: Multiple, small, soft, shiny, smooth-surfaced monomorphic papules with bases separate from each other, colored same as that of adjacent mucosa seen over inner aspect of labia minora

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A single course of cryotherapy with liquid nitrogen spray gun consisting of three 15–20s freeze-thaw cycles delivered by open spray successfully removed majority of the lesions [Figure 2] without any long-term sequelae. The patient experienced mild pain and watery discharge after the procedure, which settled in 4–5 days. The patient was symptom free during 6 months of follow-up.
Figure 2: Majority of the lesions cleared after single sitting of cryotherapy (photograph taken 1 month after treatment)

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VVP, also known as pseudocondylomata, is now believed to represent a morphological variant of normal genital epithelium. Due to the clinical resemblance of VVP to genital wart, the former is often misdiagnosed or over diagnosed as human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, leading to inappropriate investigations and treatment. But distinction between the two entities has been well established by in situ hybridization and polymerase chain reaction studies.[1],[2] Clinical, dermatoscopic, and histopathological findings differentiating the two conditions have been summarized in [Table 1].[1],[3],[4] Our case satisfied the clinical criteria of VVP suggested by Moyal-Barracco et al.,[1] which was confirmed dermatoscopically; hence, investigations such as biopsy and HPV testing were avoided.
Table 1: Clinical, dermoscopic, and histopathological differences between vestibular papillomatosis and condylomata acuminata

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Asymptomatic and symptomatic variants of VVP have been observed. Latter variant is associated with symptoms such as vulvar pruritus, burning, and dyspareunia, which makes the patient anxious interfering with their sexual activity and work.[5] For patients with asymptomatic lesions, reassurance regarding benign nature of the condition would be sufficient. However, for patients with excessive concern desiring removal or those presenting with symptomatic lesions, we propose cryotherapy as a promising treatment option as our patient gave an encouraging result. Our patient has been kept under follow-up to assess any regrowth or development of new lesions.

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There are no conflicts of interest

   References Top

Moyal-Barracco M, Leibovitch M, Orth G Vestibular papillae of the vulva. Lack of evidence for human papillomavirus etiology. Arch Dermatol 1990;126:1594-8.  Back to cited text no. 1
Beznos G, Coates V, Focchi J, Omar HA Biomolecular study of the correlation between papillomatosis of the vulvar vestibule in adolescents and human papillomavirus. Sci World J 2006;6: 628-36.  Back to cited text no. 2
Kim SH, Seo SH, Ko HC, Kwon KS, Kim MB The use of dermatoscopy to differentiate vestibular papillae, a normal variant of the female external genitalia, from condyloma acuminata. J Am Acad Dermatol 2009;60:353-5.  Back to cited text no. 3
Xu X, Erickson L, Chen L, Elder DE Diseases caused by viruses. In: Elder DE, Elenitsas R, Johnson BL, Murphy GF, Xu X, editors. Lever’s histopathology of the skin. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Williams; 2009. pp. 637-65.  Back to cited text no. 4
Growdon WA, Fu YS, Lebherz TB, Rapkin A, Mason GD, Parks G Pruritic vulvar squamous papillomatosis: evidence for human papillomavirus etiology. Obstet Gynecol 1985;66: 564-8.  Back to cited text no. 5

Correspondence Address:
Simin Muhammed Kutty
Kushboo, Golf Link Road, Chevayur, Calicut, Kerala.
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/JCAS.JCAS_187_19

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  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]

  [Table 1]


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