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The vulva (plurals: vulvas or vulvae), also known as the pudendum, (plural: pudenda) is the collective term given to the female external genitalia.
The vulva consists of the:
- mons pubis
- labia majora
- labia minora
- bulbs of the vestibule
- vestibule of the vulva
- vaginal opening
- Bartholin glands
Individual component structures of the vulva (apart for the mons pubis and labia majora +/- labia minora) can be difficult to distinguish on CT where soft tissue contrast is poor.
MRI can distinguish most of the individual structures, including the internal structure of the clitoris. Fortunately the location of the vulva means that physical examination is sufficient for many patients.
Ultrasound is usually the first-line modality when imaging is required, with judicious adjunct use of MRI.
History and etymology
Vulva is Latin for the same, from earlier term volva, meaning uterus.