Everybody is different, and everybody changes over time. While some differences are immediately obvious when you look at a person — such as the size of someone’s nose, their eye color or their height, others aren’t so obvious. The same is true of body changes. You can often quickly tell that someone has gained or lost weight or if a woman has had a breast augmentation or reduction, for example.
Like every other area of the body, the female genital area can change as women age or experience other life changes, such as pregnancy and childbirth. Different women also tend to have different sizes and shapes of vulva and vagina, naturally.
If you aren’t happy with the way your genitals have changed as you’ve gotten older or after you’ve had a baby, there are plastic surgery options available to restore the area. Two of the most popular vaginal rejuvenation surgeries are labiaplasty and vaginoplasty. Although the two surgeries are often referred to together, they have different goals and each focuses on a different area of the female anatomy.
What’s the Goal of Labiaplasty?
The goal of labiaplasty is usually to reduce the size of the labia minora, the skin that is around the opening of the vagina. The labia can become stretched out due to childbirth or as part of the aging process. Some women are born with enlarged labia.
While women often decide to have labiaplasty for cosmetic reasons, there are benefits to the surgery that extend beyond the purely cosmetic. Enlarged labia can make it uncomfortable for a woman to exercise. They can also interfere with sexual intercourse and can chafe or cause discomfort when a woman wears tight clothing or underwear. In some cases, the labia might be visible under certain types of garments, making a woman feel self-conscious.
What’s the Goal of Vaginoplasty?
While a labiaplasty focuses on surgically correcting the external genitalia, the goal of vaginoplasty is to tighten the vagina, the internal part of a woman’s genitals. The vaginal muscles can separate during childbirth, creating laxity and a feeling of looseness inside. The vaginal canal can also become laxer as a woman gets older.
Like labiaplasty, vaginoplasty is often performed for cosmetic reasons, but offers benefits beyond the purely cosmetic, as well. Some women find that it helps to make sex more enjoyable and that it allows them to wear tampons comfortably once again.
What Happens During Vaginal Rejuvenation?
What happens during a vaginal rejuvenation surgery depends on the type of procedure you choose. During labiaplasty, the surgeon focuses on removing excess skin from the labia. Two types of incisions are commonly used.
The first is the trim labiaplasty, which directly removes excess tissue from the area. The second is the wedge labiaplasty, which removes a pie- or triangle-shaped piece of tissue from the labia. Labiaplasty is often performed with either a local anesthetic and sedation or with a patient under general anesthesia. The type of anesthesia used depends on your preference and the recommendation of your surgeon.
During vaginoplasty, the plastic surgeon will make an incision in the vaginal wall and will remove a piece of the wall and any loose muscles. The remaining muscle will be tightened before dissolvable sutures are used to close everything up. Like labiaplasty, vaginoplasty might be performed under local anesthesia and sedation or while a patient is under general anesthesia.
How Long Does Recovery Take?
The initial recovery after either labiaplasty or vaginoplasty can take anywhere from one to two weeks. You’ll want to take at least that much time off from work or other activities, to give your body time to heal. Depending on the type of work you do, you might be able to go back to the office after five days or so.
While you can get back to light activities after about a week or two, there are some things you should postpone for longer after vaginoplasty or labiaplasty. For example, your plastic surgeon will most likely recommend waiting several weeks before you have sexual intercourse after vaginoplasty. You’ll also want to wait at least four weeks before you go back to the gym or start up another exercise routine.
Can You Combine Labiaplasty and Vaginoplasty?
Vaginoplasty and labiaplasty focus on different areas of the genitals. It is possible to combine the two surgeries if you’re interested in making changes to the external and internal areas. It’s also possible to have other types of vaginal rejuvenation surgery, performed either alongside labiaplasty or vaginoplasty or on their own.
Other vaginal rejuvenation surgeries include clitoral hood reduction, labia majora reduction, and monsplasty. Each one focuses on changing the shape, size, or general appearance of a particular area of the female genitals. Dr. Paul Vitenas is a top-rated plastic surgeon in Houston, Texas who performs vaginoplasty and labiaplasty regularly. If you’re not happy with the feel, function, or appearance of the vulva or vagina, schedule a consultation to discuss your surgical options with Dr. Vitenas today. To make your appointment, call 281-484-0088. You can also book a virtual consultation.