Vulvoscopy is microscopic examination of the skin of the vulva and uses the same microscope as colposcopy. It takes approximately 5 to 10 minutes, and is performed in a dedicated clinic. It may cause only minimal discomfort but no pain.


Occasionally during vulvoscopy, your consultant may need to take a small piece of tissue (a biopsy) from the skin of the vulva. Having a biopsy does not mean that you have pre-cancerous cells. Local anaesthesia is used before the biopsy. The tissue biopsy will be sent to the laboratory and examined under a special tissue microscope. In most cases, further testing and treatment will depend on the results of the biopsy.

Before your vulvoscopy appointment, you should not apply anything to the skin that is difficult to wipe off (oily or greasy). Vulvoscopy can be done at any time during your menstrual cycle, but if you have heavy vaginal bleeding on the day of your appointment, you should call our clinic.

If you take any medications you should let your doctor know as some medications can increase bleeding if you have a biopsy during the vulvoscopy.

What are the complications, if any?

The acetic acid (dilute vinegar) solution used during the examination may cause mild stinging sensation

If you have a biopsy of your vulvar, you may have some pain and bleeding which is usually minimal.


Most women are able to return to work or their usual day to day activities immediately after having a vulvoscopy. If you have a biopsy, your consultant will discuss your results with you once they are available.