What is Labiaplasty?
Labiaplasty is a plastic surgery procedure performed to slim the labia minora, the inner lips on both sides of your vagina. Women may seek a labiaplasty for aesthetic reasons or because the excess skin causes discomfort during sex or exercise. It also may limit the clothes that can be worn, such as certain bathing suits, skinny jeans or leggings.
The procedure has become more and more popular over the past 20 years. In 2013 alone, more than 5,000 American women had the procedure, which represents a 20 to 30 percent increase from 2012. The number of surgeons offering the procedure has also increased in the past few years, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
With a labiaplasty, a gynecological surgeon can decrease and reshape the labia if they are asymmetrical or larger than normal. Some women opt to have both a labiaplasty and a vaginoplasty at the same time. Also called a vaginal rejuvenation, a vaginoplasty tightens the width of the vagina by removing excess skin. Both procedures can be done safely in the same operation.
Labiaplasty Procedure Steps
The very first step is to schedule a consultation with a gynecologist both to discuss what the goal is for the surgery. Labiaplasty is an outpatient procedure — arriving in in the morning and going home that day. During the procedure, the patient is unconscious, either through general anesthesia or through sedation. The gynecological surgeon then performs the surgery using one of three techniques:
- 1. The Trim method, which reduces the labia directly by trimming the edge of the lips to the desired length — this method isn’t used much anymore since the outcome is less esthetically satisfactory, as the original color and shape are altered.
- 2. The Wedge method, which saves the edges of the labia while reducing the length by cutting a wedge shape from the lower lips, thus preserving the original lip edges while reducing the overall size
- 3. The Extended Wedge method strong>can also reduce the hood over the clitoris to attain pleasing contours — if the clitoris protrudes too much, sometimes that can be corrected as well.
The technique used depends on what best suits the patient’s goals. In all cases, the surgeon removes the unwanted labia tissue with either a scalpel or a laser. Laser labiaplasty has become much more common in recent years. Afterward, your new labia are held together with dissolving stitches to allows healing. The whole procedure takes between one and two hours.
Labiaplasty Risks and Side Effects
Labiaplasty is a surgery and all surgeries carry some risk. Labiaplasty risks include:
- Being allergic to the anesthesia
- Getting a serious blood clot
- Experiencing excessive bleeding
- Getting an infection at the surgical site
- Developing noticeable and undesirable scars
- Having less feeling afterward, although the surgery doesn’t approach the clitoris
While every woman heals at a different rate. Follow the post-surgical instructions to aid in healing.. Instructions may include:
- How to keep the surgical area clean and how to change any dressings
- How to apply any topical medications prescribed
- How and when to take the prescription pain medication
- Which activities to do at which points in the recovery process
- When to come back for a follow-up examinations
Most women are often able to return to work in two to five days. Full healing takes about six weeks however most gynecologists recommend that waiting six to eight weeks before having sex after a labiaplasty.