Although more than half of the population is female, there’s a lot of confusion when it comes to “down there.” You can see this when it comes to labiaplasty and vaginoplasty, two terms which are often used interchangeably even though they are distinctly different procedures.
While many think of the subject as taboo, there are plenty of women who aren’t happy about the width or size of their labia or vagina and who want to do something to change it. Knowing which is which is just part of the process of correcting any concerns in the area.
It’s also important to know the difference between the surgeries in the area. For example, if you’re more concerned about the external area, a labiaplasty might be the best option for you. If your major concern is the internal area, or the vaginal canal, a vaginoplasty might be the better option.
What is Labiaplasty?
Labiaplasty is a surgical procedure that removes excess skin from the external area of the vagina. There are a number of reasons why a woman might have extra skin in that area, such as stretching during childbirth. Some women naturally have more skin in the area than others and might feel self-conscious about it. Labiaplasty can also be performed to correct asymmetry in the area. Depending on the specific patient, it can be performed on the labia major, which are the larger lips outside of the vagina, or the labia minor, the smaller lips located on the inner side of the labia major.
Typically, labiaplasty takes about an hour and involves the use of either a general anesthetic or local anesthetic. Some downtime is needed to recover from the procedure. It often takes between one and two weeks to recover from the surgery, but many women find they are able to return to work relatively quickly. Any strenuous activities, including exercise, need to be avoided for about six weeks after the surgery.
Right after labiaplasty, there is usually some swelling and bruising. If a woman feels any pain or discomfort, it can be easily managed with medication. The surgeon uses dissolvable stitches during the procedure, so a woman won’t need to return to have the stitches removed.
What is Vaginoplasty?
While labiaplasty is performed on the external part of a woman’s genitals, vaginoplasty is internal. The purpose of vaginoplasty is to tighten the vaginal canal. Just as pregnancy and childbirth can stretch the labia, they can also stretch the vaginal canal. In some cases, the vaginal canal can widen as a result of the aging process.
During a vaginoplasty procedure, the surgeon makes an incision on the floor of the vagina. He then removes a portion of the vaginal wall and tightens the muscles in the area to reduce the size of the vaginal canal.
Recover after vaginoplasty can be a bit longer than the recovery after labiaplasty. Many women find that they need to take up to a full week off from work after the procedure, for example. Sex and exercise need to be avoided for up to six weeks after the surgery, too.
Depending on the patient, the surgery can take up to two hours. As with labiaplasty, either general or local anesthetic, with sedation, can be used. After the procedure, some bruising, swelling, and in some cases, bleeding, can occur, but usually only last for a day or two.
Can You Combine the Two Surgeries?
It is possible to combine labiaplasty and vaginoplasty. For some patients, combining the two procedures makes the most sense, as they are concerned about the external appearance of their genitals and about the internal feel of them. Combining the surgeries, instead of having one and then the other, can also be a more affordable option. Plus, when patients combine procedures, they also combine recovery time, so they spend less time overall recuperating after surgery.
Whether a patient decides to have one or the other surgery, or both, it’s important that she be a good candidate for either. An ideal patient will be in good health, without any uncontrolled medical concerns, and will be finished having kids. Childbirth after either procedure can undo or alter the results, potentially requiring a new procedure later on.
Are you considering vaginoplasty, labiaplasty or both? Get the full scoop on each surgery, as well as your other options for vaginal rejuvenation.
In Houston, Texas, Dr. Paul Vitenas performs both procedures at Houston Surgery Center, an accredited facility that is right next to his practice, Vitenas Cosmetic Surgery. To learn more about either surgery and to fully discuss your options, schedule a consultation with Dr. Vitenas today. Call 281-484-0088 to book your appointment.