Everything You Need to Know About Labiaplasty
For many women, the appearance of their labia is a source of discomfort or embarrassment. Fortunately, there are now several cosmetic surgery procedures that can improve a woman’s self-esteem and physical comfort in this area. Labiaplasty, also called labia reduction, is a surgery that changes the size of a woman’s outer genital area.
The surgery itself is minimally invasive, but it’s still something to consider carefully. If you’re interested in labiaplasty, here’s what you need to know before scheduling a consultation with a plastic surgeon.
Why Have Labiaplasty?
There are a few reasons a woman might consider labiaplasty. The size of the labia, or the lips of the vagina, can change after pregnancy and childbirth. In some cases, vaginal delivery can enlarge the labia. The increased size might make you feel self-conscious, especially during intimacy or when wearing swimwear. Or, you might simply want to get your “pre-baby body” back.
Other women have had enlarged labia minora (the inner lips) for as long as they can remember. Enlarged labia minora might protrude out of the vaginal area or past the labia majora (the outer lips). The enlargement might even be visible through clothing. Surgery to reduce the size of the labia minora can help you feel more confident.
Finally, some people notice that having enlarged labia causes physical discomfort. You might experience chafing or general discomfort when sitting or wearing certain types of clothing. Surgery can help you feel better and improve your quality of life.
What Happens During Labiaplasty?
What happens during labiaplasty will depend on your specific goals and concerns. During a labia reduction, the surgeon will make incisions in the labia minora and remove excess skin. The surgery can also be combined with other treatments in the area, such as a clitoral hood reduction or vaginoplasty, which tightens the muscles inside the vagina.
What Type of Anesthesia Will the Surgeon Use?
The type of anesthesia your surgeon will use during labiaplasty depends on the complexity of the procedure. In some cases, the surgeon might just use local anesthesia to numb the area. You might be sedated so that you don’t remember the procedure. Sedation won’t put you completely under though.
If you are combining labiaplasty with another surgery such as a vaginoplasty, or if the surgery on its own will be relatively complicated, your surgeon might give you general anesthesia for your safety. With general anesthesia, you’ll be completely asleep. You won’t remember anything about the procedure.
Regardless of which type of anesthesia the surgeon uses, it’s a good idea to have someone drive you home and stay with you overnight after the procedure.
What Is the Recovery Like?
Initial recovery after labiaplasty usually takes between one and two weeks. During that time, you’ll want to stay home from work. It’s also a good idea to take a break from your other standard activities, such as volunteering or exercising. You can spend time with friends, but ideally, they’ll come to see you rather than you going to see them.
During the first few days after the surgery, you’re likely to notice swelling or bruising in the vaginal area. You might notice that one side of the labia swells more than the other. That’s completely normal. Your surgeon is likely to prescribe medication to help you manage any discomfort you feel after surgery. They can also give you advice on how to minimize swelling.
As you recover, treat the area gently. You might find it more comfortable to rinse the area with water rather than to wipe it with toilet paper. Wet wipes might also be more comfortable than dry toilet paper. You might notice some drainage. Wearing a pad can help to keep your underwear clean.
It’s a good idea to keep your clothing relatively loose after labiaplasty. Cotton granny panties might be your best bet during the initial recovery phase. Skip anything super tight or made from synthetic fabrics. Skirts and loose-fitting pants are also ideal during recovery.
What Type of Results Can You Expect?
Labia reduction will reduce the size of either your outer or inner labia, or both, depending on the surgery you choose. Because of swelling, it might take a few weeks or months before you see the final results. Results are long-lasting after surgery.
When Can You Have Sex Again After Labiaplasty?
It might go without saying that it’s important to refrain from sexual intercourse or any sort of sexual contact with the vaginal area right after surgery. You need to give the area plenty of time to heal. Your surgeon will let you know when you’ve got the all-clear for sex again, usually within six weeks of the procedure.
If labiaplasty seems like the right option for you, talk to a board-certified plastic surgeon today to learn more. Dr. Paul Vitenas performs labiaplasty and other plastic surgeries at his practice in Houston, Texas. To schedule a consultation, call 281-484-0088 today.