Complete guide to Labiaplasty: What to expect and how to recover
Labiaplasty is a surgical procedure known as vaginal rejuvenation, where the surgeon modifies either the labia minora (inner lips) or labia majora (outer lips) to remove excess from these areas. The process is often to change the look of the labia if there is naturally an excess of the labia skin or if the vagina has changed after childbirth. Most labiaplasty operations focus on the labia minora, the folds closest to the clitoris, to create a more “tucked in” look.
Why do people get labiaplasty?
There is a considerable amount of variation on the look of a woman’s labia and there is no “normal” length or look. Some women have inner labia that are longer than the outer labia and for others it is the opposite way around. The labia may be symmetrical but often are not and for some the clitoris is visible, for others it’s not. All these variations are normal and not uncommon, but this does not mean that every woman is in love with their labia look. Like any part of the human body, no two people have the same earlobes, some are thick, thin, small or long. If someone thinks that their labia is too long, which may make them insecure or give discomfort, then labiaplasty is a solution.
Is it medically necessary?
In most situations getting labiaplasty is not medically needed but is instead a cosmetic surgery. It does not mean that the surgery is not still necessary for the person who desires it, as having a disliked body part can cause mental distress. There may be an aversion to being intimate for these people due to being self-conscious, which can have a detrimental impact on that person’s overall mental health. There are many reasons that someone may have negative thoughts about the look of their labia and mainstream porn is likely a part of the issue, giving unrealistic expectations on what a vagina should look like.
There are some cases where the process is medically necessary though, with some women suffering from their labia being sucked into the vagina during sex. This can cause discomfort or even painful tears in some situations. There are also cases where women struggle with wearing tight underwear or bathing suits and get irritation or chafing of the vulva skin.
Some people are born with labia that are longer than average. Still, childbirth and ageing can also result in the labia getting longer, making the operation necessary later in life when it was not needed before.
How common is labiaplasty?
Around 10,000 labiaplasty procedures happen each year in the US, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), which compares to approximately 215,000 people that get nose jobs and 300,000 that have breast augmentations each year. These are more commonly seen and talked about as they are more visible, but the number of people that get labiaplasty is still not low. Those thinking about getting the procedure are in good company and the process is not uncommon.
When should you not get labiaplasty?
While the operation is minor, it is still surgery, so it’s always important to consider health before deciding. Health is always the number one priority and those who have a pre-existing medical condition or disease should take the necessary steps to speak with a surgeon and doctor to see if there are any risks. Mental health and psychological condition also needs to be taken into consideration. Those are the always want the outcome to be perfect in all situations may not be good candidates. While the surgery will likely result in a positive effect, there will still be margins for errors and the result may not be a “perfect” labia after the procedure. Plastic surgery is a personal decision and the decision is always the recipient, but ensure that the decision is not taken lightly.
What are the risks?
Before going under the knife, it is also essential to understand the potential risks of getting labiaplasty. As with any procedure like this, there is a slight chance that there may be some issues after, which can include decreased sensitivity, chronic dryness, some scarring that may result in pain when having vaginal sex and numbness. Some may also suffer from bleeding, hematoma and infection, which are risks of any surgery.
The labia are needed to protect the vaginal opening and those who opt to have a significant reduction in the length of the labia may stop the labia from doing this. As a result, there could be a higher chance of getting stuff inside the vagina, changing the pH balance and resulting in vaginal infections. To reduce these risks, do research to find a surgeon specialising in labiaplasty such as https://lexingtonps.com/labiaplasty/.
Are you guaranteed to get the result you want?
The answer to this question very much depends on expectations from the procedure. Almost all labiaplasty operations result in the length of the labia being shortened, which is the procedure’s overall objective. Those who are having issues with the labia being irritated, twisted or tugged due to its length in day-to-day life or sexual intercourse are highly likely to have some relief. Some patients will find the results life-changing if the irritation or issues were chronic.
A study in 2014 found that 91% of people who had labiaplasty felt more satisfied with their genitals after the procedure and concluded that it was effective in improving genital appearance and sexual satisfaction. The process is still somewhat new, meaning that there have been no studies on how labiaplasty impacts those going through childbirth or menopause. Those who are aware that there is some variation in the final look of the labia after the operation will likely be satisfied with the results.
How do you find a provider?
Those who are looking for someone to perform a labiaplasty procedure, both plastic surgeons and gynecologists operate. The best place to start is with a gynecologist and get a check-up to see if the labia is “normal” and have a more objective view of if surgery is the best option. After speaking about options, they will refer the patient to someone that performs labiaplasties if they do not know themselves. It is also a good idea to check any before and after pictures of operations that have been performed by the surgeon that you are speaking to and if possible, speak to someone that has gone though the operation with them for a referral.
How do you prepare for the procedure?
Make sure to take at least a few days off work so that you have time to recover and then have a few loose and comfortable pairs of underwear ready to wear. Take care in the run-up to the operation, drink plenty of water and eat healthily to maximise the ability to recover.
How is it done?
There are two primary forms of labiaplasty called edge resection and wedge resection, which is done under aesthetic. Edge resection trims the excess edges of the labia minor, like the way a hairdresser cuts hair. Wedge resection is the process of cutting wedges of the skin from the centre of the labia and then bringing the skin back together, maintaining the original labial edges.
For the labia majora, the tissue is either cut away or liposuction is used on labia larger or longer than desired. Some people also have fat or filler material injected into the labia majora if they choose a plumper look.
How do you recover from the operation?
The procedure is not too damaging and is usually an outpatient surgery, meaning recovery is done from home. Do not underestimate the recovery process through, as the body will still need time to recover. Taking at least three to seven days off work is recommended and there will likely be a prescription of antibiotics to reduce the chance of infection as well as painkillers.
Urinating for the next few days will likely be painful and using a stream of warm water over the area can help to ease the discomfort. There will also likely be some swelling and bruising in the area for at least a few days, which can be eased with an icepack if needed.
Try not to wear any tight-fitting underwear or pants in the next few days and choose loose and comfortable clothes until healing has begun. It is also highly recommended to not use tampons for a while during the recovery process. Inserting these could cause irritation, infection or trauma if done before fully healed, so use pads or liners for as long as the doctor recommends.
Sexual intercourse will also cause trauma to the area and it is recommended that it is avoided for at least six weeks after the procedure. Use the doctor’s advice on when it is safe to start having sex again to ensure no damage is caused.
Going back to work and starting normal activities should be fine after a few days of healing, but be mindful of any actions that may rub or irritate the area. Choose to make safe decisions that will help a speedy recovery where possible.
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The material contained in this article is of the nature of general comment only and does not give advice on medical or any particular matter. Recipients should not act on the basis of this article’s information without taking appropriate professional advice.