What is labiaplasty?
Labiaplasty is a surgical procedure that is performed on the labia major (the outer lips of the vagina) and/or the labia minor (the inner lips of the vagina). It is used to reduce the size of labia that are too large, and to reshape labia that are uneven, improving their appearance and reducing associated discomfort. A relatively minor surgical procedure, it is performed for cosmetic, hygienic, pain-relief and/or functional reasons. Labiaplasty can be performed alone or in conjunction with procedures such as vaginoplasty and liposuction. Labiaplasty specialists are often plastic surgeons, obstetricians/gynecologists, or urologists.
Candidates for Labiaplasty
Candidates for labiaplasty may not like the appearance of their labia; be bothered by labial irritation while conducting normal activities; find it difficult to keep the labial area clean; or experience pain during sexual intercourse or vigorous activity. Candidates should be in good overall health, and not planning on having (more) children, because the birthing process can cause operated-on tissue to reopen.
The Labiaplasty Procedure
Labiaplasty is generally performed just after the patient has had her period. The patient receives anesthesia or IV sedation, as well as medications to block nerve signals and minimize bleeding. The surgeon trims, using scissors, a scalpel or laser, excess labial tissue, closes the incision with absorbable stitches, and applies antibiotic cream. Labiaplasty takes 1 to 2 hours, and most patients return home the same day.
Recovery from Labiaplasty
Post-labiaplasty, most patients have swelling, and mild-to moderate pain, for which painkillers are prescribed. Patients typically return to work in 2 to 4 days, and are able to use tampons or resume sexual activity in 6 weeks. Post-operative care involves carefully washing the area, and using antibiotic creams to prevent infection.
Risks of Labiaplasty
Complications from labiaplasty are rare, but there are risks. They include bleeding, infection, poor healing, labial asymmetry, labia that are smaller or larger than desired, loss of sensation, and the need for a second surgery.