OBJECTIVE: To assess the rate of wound complications and evaluate the effectiveness of antibiotic prophylaxis in vulvar wide local excision procedures. METHODS: We performed a single-institution, retrospective cohort study of women undergoing vulvar surgery for premalignant lesions between January 2007 and January 2017. The primary outcome was a composite wound complication rate that included breakdown or infection within 8 weeks postoperatively. Data were analyzed using Fisher exact or x2 test, Student t-test, and Poisson regression. RESULTS: Wound complications occurred in 154 (28.7%) of the 537 patients. Mean age was 52 years; most patients were white (83.1%), cigarette smokers (65.2%), had no prior vulvar treatment (54.4%), and had a preoperative diagnosis of high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (vulvar HSIL) (70.0%). The presence of other predisposing factors was similar between groups. In multivariate analysis, smoking (odds ratio [OR] 1.64, 95% CI 1.14–2.38) and primary rather than repeat vulvar surgery (OR 1.99, 95% CI 1.31–3.01) were associated with increased risk for wound complications. There was no significant difference in wound complications between women who received preoperative antibiotics and those who did not (30.4% vs 27.4%, P5.45), although the mean length of wound separation in the antibiotic group was shorter (1 vs 2 cm, P5.03). CONCLUSION: Wound complications are common among women undergoing surgery for vulvar HSIL, and interventional trials are warranted to evaluate the role of smoking cessation and prophylactic antibiotics to reduce postoperative morbidity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)658-665
Number of pages8
JournalObstetrics and gynecology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2019


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