Vulva

Condyloma acuminatum

This article was last reviewed and updated on October 31, 2018

by Emily Goebel, MD FRCPC

Quick facts:
  • Condyloma acuminatum is a non-cancerous condition that develops on the vulva.
  • Condyloma acuminatum is caused by a virus called human papillomavirus (HPV).
  • Another name for condyloma acuminatum is a genital wart.
The normal vulva

The vulva is the external part of the female genital tract.  It forms the opening of the vagina and includes the mons pubis, labia majora, labia minora and clitoris. The vulva is made of skin. The surface of the skin is called the epidermis and is made up of squamous cells. The tissue beneath the epidermis is called the dermis, it contains blood vessels and connective tissue.

What is condyloma acuminatum?

Condyloma acuminatum is a common, non-cancerous (benign) condition that is sexually transmitted. This condition develops in the vulva when the squamous cells become infected with a virus known as human papillomavirus (HPV). Condyloma acuminatum is also known as a genital wart.

The HPV virus associated with condyloma acuminatum is a low risk type of HPV.  The infected cells are much larger than normal squamous cells and pathologists call them koilocytes.

Why is this important? Condyloma acuminatum is not associated with an increased risk for cancer.

How do pathologists make this diagnosis?

The diagnosis of condyloma acuminatum is usually made after a small sample of tissue is removed in a procedure called a biopsy. Condyloma acuminatum can grow back after surgery and there can be more than one, so multiple surgical procedures may be required.

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