After your vulvectomy, you may develop some side effects while you are in the hospital. Below you will find tips on how to prevent these side effects. If you have any of these side effects, they may be treated as follows:
- You are at risk for infection at the surgery area or opening of the incision, because of the moisture in that area. To prevent infection it is important to keep this area clean and dry by taking sitz baths and keeping your legs apart. The nurses and physicians will look at your surgery area every day for signs of infection. The signs of infection are: redness, bad odor, more tenderness or fever. If you have an infection, the nurse will change the dressing more often. You may have to take antibiotics.
- You are also at risk of a urine infection because of the catheter in your bladder after surgery. Signs of a urine infection are: urinating often or burning when urinating. To prevent a urine infection, drink about 8-10 glasses of liquid per day. If you develop a urine infection, you will receive antibiotics by pills or in intravenous (in your veins).
- Since you will not be moving and walking after your surgery, you may develop pneumonia. People who smoke are more at risk of pneumonia. Pneumonia is an infection in your lungs: do deep breathing and coughing exercises (ask your nurse for the booklet on breathing exercises). If you smoke, you should try to stop smoking (decrease) a week before your surgery. If you have pneumonia: you may receive antibiotics by intravenous or by pills.
- Another side effect is a Thrombosis. Thrombosis is a blood clot in your leg, often caused by not moving your legs or walking. To prevent a thrombosis, move your legs while you are in bed. The nurse will give you a needle of heparin under the skin. Heparin is a medication to thin your blood; it prevents blood clots. Your nurse will tell you when you should start walking. Signs of thrombosis are: sharp pain, redness, swelling and /or hot skin on your legs. The physicians and nurses will look at your legs regularly.
- After any type of surgery, there is a small risk of bleeding at the surgery area. If you bleed, the nurse will apply more dressing to the surgery area. The nurses and the physician will observe you carefully.