What is Labiaplasty?
Labia minora reduction surgery is a procedure to help improve the aesthetic appearance of the external female genitalia. Genetically or due to aging and childbirth or infection, inner lips of the vulva may increase in size or become asymmetrical. Labiaplasty, most commonly, is a procedure to trim this tissue. However, the procedure may be combined with a clitoral hood reduction and labia majora surgery (vaginal rejuvenation surgery).
If the structure of the genitalia is causing serious physical discomfort the procedure may be classified under reconstructive plastic surgery rather than a cosmetic procedure.
Who is a good candidate?
You are a good candidate for Labiaplasty procedure if:
• Your vaginal structures have become lax and large
• You feel self-conscious about the appearance of your labia and vulva
• The tissue is causing physical discomfort to you
• You are otherwise healthy and do not have a serious illness or medical condition that may impair the healing
• You are a non-smoker or can abstain from smoking for at least three weeks before and after the surgery
• You have a positive outlook, with a clear and realistic vision of what you want the procedure do for you
There is no perfect shape for vagina and labia. Therefore the procedure to balance the look or reduce the physical discomfort caused by the structure the genitalia takes many forms. In the most common method the extra tissue is removed and sewn up directly. In another method, a pie shaped piece is removed from the tissue and is sewn up with absorbable sutures. This method maintains the natural look of the tissue’s border. The trim method however has a shorter recovery time and is less likely to cause healing complications.
Your surgeon may perform the procedure using a scalpel or surgical knife. More recently surgeons use laser beam for a more accurate cut. The laser cut can also reduce bleeding and the recovery time.
The scaring in labiaplasty is minimal, regardless of the method used, since the incisions are small and hidden in the natural folds of the body.
The procedure typically takes between one to three hours depending on whether it is performed with additional procedures. For better results and more comfort, general anesthesia is the rule for this surgery. However, in some patients, local anesthesia may be chosen depending on your preference and your plastic surgeon’s discretion.
You will be asked to use feminine pad to keep the area dry for several days after the surgery. You can return to work within a week however the swelling may continue for 4 to 6 weeks. You may reduce swelling and pain by occasionally applying cold compress on the area during the first 24 hours of your recovery. Lying down with your bottom elevated can also help alleviate the symptoms. You should refrain from intercourse and strenuous activities for the first 6-8 weeks after the surgery to allow for complete healing. You can use a doughnut cushion for comfortable prolonged siting.
Though infrequent like any other surgical procedure complications may include: Fluid retention or excessive loss of blood and fluids, infection, reaction to anesthesia medications, pigmentation changes (hypo/hyper), and irregularities of the skin surface.
Aggressive reduction of the tissue may result in chronic dryness of the vaginal opening and cause pain during intercourse.