Answers to the Labiaplasty Questions You Were Too Shy to Ask

Although more and more women are curious about labiaplasty, some stigma remains when it comes to any type of surgery "down there." Dr. Vitenas | Houston, TX
Vaginoplasty focuses on rejuvenating the inner part of the genitalia.

Labiaplasty, a surgical procedure aimed at rejuvenating the female genitalia, has gained significant interest in recent years. Despite its increasing popularity, many questions and misconceptions surround this procedure. As a board-certified plastic surgeon with extensive experience in labiaplasty, I aim to demystify this procedure and provide comprehensive insights into what patients can expect.

What’s the Difference Between Labiaplasty and Vaginoplasty?

Labiaplasty and vaginoplasty are both plastic surgeries that focus on rejuvenating the female genitalia. But each surgery focuses on a different area. Labiaplasty, also known as labia reduction, focuses on the external area. It can reduce the size of the inner lips, the labia minora, or the outer lips, the labia majora, or both.

Vaginoplasty focuses on rejuvenating the inner part of the genitalia. The goal of the surgery is usually to tighten the vaginal canal.

Vaginoplasty and labiaplasty can be performed individually or together.

Before & After Photos*

The Surgical Process:

Labiaplasty is a delicate procedure that involves resizing or reshaping the labia minora and/or labia majora. The surgery is typically performed under local anesthesia with sedation, ensuring patient comfort throughout the process. The duration of the procedure is usually about one to two hours, depending on the complexity and the specific techniques used.

Variations in Labiaplasty Techniques:

  • Trim Procedure: Involves trimming the excess labial tissue, commonly used for reducing the size of the labia minora.
  • Wedge Procedure: This technique removes a wedge-shaped portion of the labia, maintaining the natural border but reducing the overall size.
  • Extended Wedge Technique: A variation that addresses issues in both the labia minora and majora, offering a more comprehensive rejuvenation.

Recovery Expectations: Post-surgery, patients typically experience mild discomfort and swelling, which subsides within a few weeks. Most patients can return to work within 5-7 days. However, it’s advised to avoid strenuous activities and sexual intercourse for approximately 4-6 weeks to ensure proper healing.

What Will Labiaplasty Do for Me?

There are many reasons to have labiaplasty. Some women start to feel self-conscious about the appearance of their outer genitals, due to changes after childbirth or as part of aging. Some women have been self-conscious about their appearance for as long as they can remember. A labia reduction can help a woman feel more confident in the way she looks.

Labiaplasty can also increase comfort and overall aesthetics. When the labia are very large, they can be prominent and visible beneath certain types of clothing, such as leggings or swimsuits. Large labia can also make doing certain activities, such as riding a bike or sitting for extended periods, uncomfortable.

Will Labiaplasty Affect My Ability to Have Children?

While many women wait until they have had children to consider labiaplasty, the surgery itself will not affect your ability to get pregnant or to deliver a baby in the future.

One thing to consider, if you are considering labiaplasty and plan on having more children, is that childbirth can change the shape and size of the inner and outer labia. For that reason, you might want to postpone the procedure until your family is complete.

Are There Medical Benefits to Labiaplasty?

Although labiaplasty is often considered cosmetic surgery, there might be some medical benefits to having it. It can help to reduce irritation and discomfort in the genital area and might improve sexual satisfaction.

How Can I Prepare for Labiaplasty?

The first step to take if you’re interested in labiaplasty is to schedule a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon who offers the procedure. Your surgeon can answer any questions you have about the surgery and can help you determine if you’re a good candidate for it. They can show you before and after photos of past patients and refer you to previous patients who are happy to talk about their experience.

If you decide to move forward with the surgery, you’ll be given a set of instructions to help you get ready. You’ll most likely need to avoid smoking in the weeks leading up to surgery and may need to avoid taking certain medications.

How Long Will Labiaplasty Take?

Labiaplasty is a relatively quick surgery. You can expect the surgeon to take about an hour. The initial recovery after labiaplasty often lasts for one or two weeks. During recovery, you’ll want to take time off from your job and will most likely have to avoid activities such as sex and exercise.

When Can I Do _____ After Labiaplasty?

Sex, exercise and certain grooming habits should all be put on hold during the first few weeks after your surgery.

Usually, you’ll be able to start up your exercise routine again about a month after labiaplasty. If you’re used to being very active, though, don’t worry. Light activity, such as taking a walk, is usually permitted starting a few days after surgery. Any activity that creates friction in the area, such as riding a horse, should be put off for at least six weeks.

If you usually groom the area around the labia by shaving, waxing or otherwise removing hair, you’ll want to skip doing so for about six weeks following labia reduction. Your surgeon will let you know when it’s OK to begin grooming again.

Sex will be off of the table for about six weeks after the surgery. You want to avoid any sort of contact that will put stress on the healing tissue or sutures.

Before & After Photos*

Is There Anyone Who Shouldn’t Have Labiaplasty?

Not every woman is a good candidate for labiaplasty. As with any elective surgery, it’s important that you be in good overall health before you have the procedure. Being healthy reduces the risk of complications and can speed up the healing process.

What does it mean to be healthy? It means not having any unmanaged, chronic conditions. It also means having a healthy attitude toward the surgery. It should be something you want for yourself, not something you’re having to make other people happy.

How Do I Tell People I’m Having Labiaplasty?

If you want to tell people that you’re having labiaplasty, you can. But you also don’t have to if doing so makes you uncomfortable. Aside from your partner or spouse, it’s really no one’s business what you do to your body.

If you’re wondering what to say to work when you request time off, just state that you’re having a medical procedure or request time off for vacation.

As a board-certified plastic surgeon with over many years of experience in female genital cosmetic surgery, I have performed numerous successful labiaplasties. My approach is always patient-centric, ensuring safety, comfort, and satisfaction. 

Labiaplasty is a personal and life-enhancing decision. Understanding the procedure, recovery, and having trust in your surgeon’s expertise are key to a successful outcome. For any further questions or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Paul Vitenas, please call 281-484-0088 today. 

For those interested in the scientific and medical aspects of labiaplasty, I recommend reviewing the following publications: