Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors
Filter by Categories
15th National Conference of the IAOMFP, Chennai, 2006
Abstracts from current literature
Acne in India: Guidelines for management - IAA Consensus Document
Art & Psychiatry
Association Activities
Association Notes
Award Article
Book Review
Brief Report
Case Analysis
Case Letter
Case Letters
Case Notes
Case Report
Case Reports
Clinical and Laboratory Investigations
Clinical Article
Clinical Studies
Clinical Study
Conference Oration
Conference Summary
Continuing Medical Education
Cosmetic Dermatology
Current Best Evidence
Current Issue
Current View
Derma Quest
Dermato Surgery
Dermatosurgery Specials
Dispensing Pearl
Do you know?
Drug Dialogues
Editor Speaks
Editorial Remarks
Editorial Report
Editorial Report - 2007
Editorial report for 2004-2005
Fourth All India Conference Programme
From Our Book Shelf
From the Desk of Chief Editor
Get Set for Net
Get set for the net
Guest Article
Guest Editorial
How I Manage?
IADVL Announcement
IADVL Announcements
IJDVL Awards
IJDVL Awards 2018
IJDVL Awards 2019
IJDVL Awards 2020
IJDVL International Awards 2018
Images in Clinical Practice
In Memorium
Inaugural Address
Knowledge From World Contemporaries
Leprosy Section
Letter in Response to Previous Publication
Letter to Editor
Letter to the Editor
Letter to the Editor - Case Letter
Letter to the Editor - Letter in Response to Published Article
Letter to the Editor - Observation Letter
Letter to the Editor - Study Letter
Letter to the Editor - Therapy Letter
Letter to the Editor: Articles in Response to Previously Published Articles
Letters in Response to Previous Publication
Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor - Letter in Response to Previously Published Articles
Letters to the Editor: Case Letters
Letters to the Editor: Letters in Response to Previously Published Articles
Medicolegal Window
Miscellaneous Letter
Net Case
Net case report
Net Image
Net Letter
Net Quiz
Net Study
New Preparations
News & Views
Observation Letter
Observation Letters
Original Article
Original Contributions
Pattern of Skin Diseases
Pediatric Dermatology
Pediatric Rounds
Presedential Address
Presidential Address
Presidents Remarks
Report of chief editor
Report of Hon : Treasurer IADVL
Report of Hon. General Secretary IADVL
Research Methdology
Research Methodology
Resident page
Resident's Page
Resident’s Page
Residents' Corner
Residents' Corner
Residents' Page
Review Article
Review Articles
Revision Corner
Self Assessment Programme
Seminar: Chronic Arsenicosis in India
Seminar: HIV Infection
Short Communication
Short Communications
Short Report
Special Article
Specialty Interface
Study Letter
Study Letters
Symposium - Contact Dermatitis
Symposium - Lasers
Symposium - Pediatric Dermatoses
Symposium - Psoriasis
Symposium - Vesicobullous Disorders
Symposium Aesthetic Surgery
Symposium Dermatopathology
Symposium-Hair Disorders
Symposium-Nails Part I
Symposium-Nails-Part II
Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses
Systematic Reviews and Meta-analysis
Therapeutic Guideline-IADVL
Therapeutic Guidelines
Therapeutic Guidelines - IADVL
Therapy Letter
Therapy Letters
View Point
What’s new in Dermatology
View/Download PDF

Translate this page into:

Case Report
doi: 10.4103/0378-6323.62971
PMID: 20445299

Vulvar vestibular papillomatosis

U Wollina, Shyam Verma
 Department of Dermatology and Allergology, Hospital Dresden-Friedrichstadt, Friedrichstrasse 41, 01067, Germany,

Correspondence Address:
Shyam Verma
18 Amee Society, Diwalipura, Next to Rajnigandha Apartments, Vadodara, India

How to cite this article:
Wollina U, Verma S. Vulvar vestibular papillomatosis. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 2010;76:270-272
Copyright: (C)2010 Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology, and Leprology


Vulvar vestibular papillomatosis is considered an anatomical variant of the vulva. Recognition of this condition enables one to distinguish it from warts and therefore avoid unnecessary therapy. A 29-year-old lady presented to this clinic with a history of 'small growths' in her vulva since two years. Examination identified skin colored translucent papules; some of them appeared digitate and were seen on the vestibule and inner aspect of both labia minora. They were soft to feel and non-tender. Few lesions looked like elongated pearly penile papules. A provisional diagnosis of vestibular papillomatosis was made and a biopsy was done. It showed finger-like protrusions of loosely arranged subdermal tissue with blood vessels and which were covered by normal mucosal epithelium. No koilocytes were seen and the diagnosis of vestibular papillomatosis was confirmed. We believe that this is the first case report of vulvar vestibular papillomatosis in Indian dermatologic literature.
Keywords: First report, India, vulvar vestibular papillomatosis


Vulvar vestibular papillomatosis is an anatomical variant of the vulva. [1],[2] In a prevalence study in London, UK, one per cent of women showed vestibular papillomatosis. [3] Other authors found prevalence rates between 5.1 to 33%. [4] From our experience with a multidisciplinary vulva clinic, the rate seems to be around 5% (unpublished observation).

Due to its ′wart like′ appearance, it is sometimes misdiagnosed as genital warts. This often leads to unwarranted and aggressive investigations and therapy. Therefore, dermatologists should be familiar with this condition. Vulvar vestibular papillomatosis can be considered the female equivalent of pearly penile papules. [4]

Case Report

A 29-year-old lady presented to this clinic with a history of ′small growths′ in her vulva for two years. She had noticed multiple finger like elongated lesions on the vulva that were gradually increasing in size for the past two years. She also experienced pain during sex. She appeared to be very anxious and feared that the growths might be cancerous and therefore wanted treatment. She had seen two gynecologists and two dermatologists before attending our clinic and had treatments with podophyllin and cryosurgery on three occasions without any improvement of the condition.

Our patient was a healthy married nulliparous woman. She had a monogamous relationship with her husband with no history of any extramarital sexual contacts since marriage, four years ago. She also complained of an occasional thick white discharge, associated with recurrent itching. Examination identified a normal vulva except for the lesions she was complaining about. There were no vulval or vaginal ulcers. Examination identified skin colored translucent, papules some of which appeared digitate and were seen on the vestibule and inner aspect of both labia minora [Figure - 1]. They were soft to feel and non-tender. Few lesions looked like elongated pearly penile papules. Some angiokeratomas were also seen on the labia adjacent to these lesions.

A provisional diagnosis of vulvar vestibular papillomatosis was made and a biopsy was done. It showed finger-like protrusions of loosely arranged subdermal tissue with blood vessels, which were covered by normal mucosal epithelium [Figure - 2]. No koilocytes were seen and the diagnosis of vulvar vestibular papillomatosis was confirmed. The patient was reassured about the benign nature of the disease, that there was no evidence of infection or malignancy and that no treatment was required.


Vestibular papillomatosis is an uncommon benign condition, which we believe, has not been described in Indian dermatologic literature. Prevalence rates of 1% have been described in literature. [3] Until now less than 20 reports have been published in the international literature since the first description of this condition in 1981 by Altmeyer et al, from Germany. [1],[2] They named the lesions "pseudocondylomata" but it is also known by various other names like ′hirsuties papillaris vulvae′, ′hirsutoid papillomas of vulvae′, ′vestibular microwarts′, ′micropapillomatosis′, and ′vulval squamous papillomatosis′. [1],[2],[3],[4] It is considered to be a variant of normal vulvar anatomy with no known significant associations. [1],[2],[3],[4],[5],[6],[7]

Vestibular papillomatosis has been recorded in healthy young women in the range of 1 to 33%. [3],[4] The papillae of 1 to 2 mm diameter have the same color as the adjacent mucosa The lesions are soft and are symmetrical or may be linear. [1],[2],[3],[4] They may cover labia minora and the introitus vaginae to a variable extent. [3],[4] They may resemble warts but are distinguished by the fact that the bases of individual papules remain separate unlike in warts where filiform projections tend to fuse at the base and lesions are not confined to the vestibule or the inner aspects of labia minora. [4],[5],[6] In addition, application of 5% acetic acid causes whitening of the lesions in warts whereas vestibular papillae remain unchanged. [3],[4],[5]

Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is not a cause of vestibular papillomatosis as shown by HPV polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or in situ hybridization. [7],[8],[9],[10],[11] Some authors suggest that vestibular papillomatosis, though not caused by HPV infection, could possess a risk of further genital HPV infection, but no data from prospective trials substantiate such a view. [3]

The histology of this condition is characterized by finger-like protrusions of a loose connective tissue covered by normal vulvar epithelium. Some vacuolated epithelial cells can occur. This can be explained on the basis that the vestibule comprises of very heavily glycogenated epithelial cells which when subjected to tissue processing get vacuolated and therefore may resemble koilocytes seen with viral infection. [1],[2],[3]

In conclusion, vestibular papillae are a normal anatomical variant of the vulva and may be considered as the female equivalent of pearly penile papules in men. Diagnostic characteristics have been summarized by Moyal-Barraco et al [Table - 1]. [12] Following this line, misdiagnosis as vulval warts and unnecessary treatment causing much anguish to the patient can be avoided. Vestibular papillae can be an added source of anxiety for an already anxious patient presenting with associated vulvodynia as it was the case in the present patient.

Altmeyer P, Chilf GN, Holzmann H. Pseudokondylome der Vulva. Geburtshilfe Frauenheilkd 1981;41:783-6.
[Google Scholar]
Sarifakioglu E, Erdal E, Gunduz C. Vestibular papillomatosis: Case report and literature review. Acta Dermatol Venereol 2006;86:177-8.
[Google Scholar]
Welch JM, Nayagam M, Parry G, Das R, Campbell M, Whatley J, et al. What is vestibular papillomatosis? A study of its prevalence, aetiology and natural history. Br J Obstet Gynaecol 1993;100:939-42.
[Google Scholar]
Van Beurden M, van der Vange N, de Craen AJ, Tjong-A-Hung SP, ten Kate FJ, ter Schegget J, et al. Normal findings in vulvar examination and vulvoscopy. Br J Obstet Gynaecol 1997;104:320-4.
[Google Scholar]
Chan CC, Chiu HC. Images in clinical medicine. Vestibular papillomatosis. N Engl J Med 2008;358:1495.
[Google Scholar]
Prieto MA, Gutiιrrez JV, Sambucety PS. Vestibular papillae of the vulva. Int J Dermatol 2004;43:142-4.
[Google Scholar]
Savini C, De Magnis A. Multiple papillae on labia minora. CMAJ 2008;179:799-80.
[Google Scholar]
Beznos G, Coates V, Focchi J, Omar HA. Biomolecular study of the correlation between papillomatosis of the vulvar vestibule in adolescents and human papillomavirus. Scientific World J 2006;6:628-36.
[Google Scholar]
Micheletti L, Preti M, Bogliatto F, Chieppa P. Vestibular papillomatosis. Minerva Ginecol 2000;52:87-91.
[Google Scholar]
Origoni M, Rossi M, Ferrari D, Lillo F, Ferrari AG. Human papillomavirus with co-existing vulvar vestibulitis syndrome and vestibular papillomatosis. Int J Gynaecol Obstet 1999;64:259-63.
[Google Scholar]
de Deus JM, Focchi J, Stavale JN, de Lima GR. Histologic and biomolecular aspects of papillomatosis of the vulvar vestibule in relation to human papillomavirus. Obstet Gynecol 1995;86:758-63.
[Google Scholar]
Moyal-Barraco M, Leibovitch M, Orth G. Vestibular papillae of the vulva. Lack of evidence for human papillomavirus etiology. Arch Dermatol 1990;126:1594-8.
[Google Scholar]

Fulltext Views

PDF downloads
Show Sections