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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 371  

Vulval elephantiasis

Department of Dermatology and STD, Vinayaka Mission's Medical College and Hospital, Karaikal, Puducherry, India

Date of Web Publication4-Sep-2015

Correspondence Address:
Arun Prasath Palanisamy
Department of Dermatology and STD, Vinayaka Missionfs Medical College and Hospital, Karaikal - 609 609, U.T of Puducherry,
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Source of Support: Nil, Conflict of Interest: None declared.

DOI: 10.4103/2229-5178.164470

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How to cite this article:
Palanisamy AP, Kanakaram KK, Vadivel S, Kothandapany S. Vulval elephantiasis. Indian Dermatol Online J 2015;6:371

How to cite this URL:
Palanisamy AP, Kanakaram KK, Vadivel S, Kothandapany S. Vulval elephantiasis. Indian Dermatol Online J [serial online] 2015 [cited 2021 Dec 6];6:371. Available from: https://www.idoj.in/text.asp?2015/6/5/371/164470

A 45-year-old woman presented with swelling in the genital region since seven years. On examination, she was found to have elephantiasis involving her left leg, not associated with any symptoms. She gave a history of treatment for filariasis in the past. Genital examination revealed a pendulous swelling arising from the left labia mimicking a scrotum with buried penis [Figure 1]. The right side was not involved [Figure 2]. Genital elephantiasis due to filariasis is very rare accounting for only 1–2% of filarial cases.[1]
Figure 1: Huge pendulous swelling involving the left labia

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Figure 2: Right side is not involved

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The term "elephantiasis" was first described by Celsius and was originally used to describe an elephant like appearance of the legs. Later the term was used to describe similar enlargement of arm, chest, breast, penis, scrotum, and vulva.[2] Genital elephantiasis is characterized by enlargement of genitals due to lymphatic obstruction resulting from a multitude of causes. Common causes include lymphogranuloma venereum, donovanosis, tuberculosis, and filariasis. Radical hysterectomy, pelvic lymphadenectomy, irradiation, tumour invasion, direct trauma are less common causes. Metastatic Crohn's disease rarely presents as genital lymphoedema.[3]

Filariasis in most cases results from infection with Wuchereria bancrofti (98%) and the remaining due to Brugia malayi (2%). Elephantiasis is a chronic manifestation of filarial infection, secondary to lymphatic involvement. The death of adult worms provokes acute inflammation and lymphatic dysfunction leading to permanent obstruction of lymphatic channels, lymph stasis and stimulation of fibroblasts resulting in lymphedema and elephantiasis. Filarial elephantiasis mostly involves lower extremities, and vulval elephantiasis is a very rare presentation.

   References Top

Khanna NN, Joshi GK. Elephantiasis of female genitalia. Case report. Plast Reconstr Surg 1971;48:379-81.  Back to cited text no. 1
Sethi A, Sethi D. Huge vulval elephantiasis of unknown aetiology. J Evol Med Dent Sci 2014;13:3324-9.  Back to cited text no. 2
Lanka P, Lanka LR, Sylvester N, Lakshmi MD, Ethirajan N. Metastatic Crohn's disease. Indian Dermatol Online J 2014;5:41-3.  Back to cited text no. 3
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  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]

This article has been cited by
1 Huge Vulval Elephantiasis of Filarial Origin: Diagnosis by Exclusion
Sunita Samal, Prithiv Raj, Seetesh Ghose
Journal of Gynecologic Surgery. 2021; 37(2): 175
[Pubmed] | [DOI]


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