What Is Labiaplasty?
Labiaplasty is a procedure that allows the surgeon to contour your labia – or the lips of your vagina. The outer lips (or labia majora) – or the inner lips (the labia minora) can be contoured, trimmed, bulked up, thinned, or basically reshaped to meet your desired outcome. This is generally a surgical procedure, most often done under local anesthesia. It can also be performed by radiofrequency devices, lasers, fillers, and other modalities. It is performed on an outpatient basis – you can go home almost immediately after the procedure is completed.
How Popular Is Labiaplasty?
Labiaplasty is one of the most popular cosmetic gynecological procedures performed today. Many women feel uncomfortable with the appearance of their labia – either they have enlarged labia, uneven labia, asymmetrical labia, labia torn during childbirth, thinned out labia or droopy labia or they have other concerns which I will discuss later. Over 200,000 procedures are performed every year and the number is growing. It is performed worldwide. I performed many labiaplasties while I was living and working in Dubai, UAE.
Who Is A Candidate For Labiaplasty?
Any woman who is displeased with the appearance or feeling of her labia is a candidate. Uneven, enlarged, bulky labia or asymmetrical labia can result from aging, childbirth, trauma, or even genetics. This area is easily re-shaped in most women. Women who feel the area is too bulky in their clothing get in the way when having intercourse or exercising, feel the area looks too old, as well as the other issues I mentioned above – asymmetry, torn labia, depleted of fat, too loose, too large, etc. You simply need to book a consultation with Dr. Dolores Kent so she can see perform an examination and discuss the possible treatment options with you. Your consultation can be in the office or virtual.
How Long Does The Procedure Take?
A labiaplasty can take as little as 45 minutes to an hour – to as long as 2 ½ hours or 3 hours, depending on the type of procedure that you need and how it is performed. During that time you are made comfortable with local anesthesia as well as oral medications so you do not feel any discomfort or tiredness.
Is The Labiaplasty Procedure Painful?
Local anesthesia is used to eliminate any pain during the procedure. Additional anesthesia is provided if needed. We also administer oral medications to help alleviate any pain during the procedure.
Is The Recovery From The Labiaplasty Procedure Painful?
There is some pain involved with the recovery but is minimized if you take your pain medication as prescribed and try to remain at rest for the first week after the procedure is done.
What Is Recovery Like?
I ask my patients to stay on bed rest or minimal activity for the first week after the labiaplasty and to ice the area for the first 24 – 72 hours to decrease swelling. The less swelling you have, the less painful it will be. Small sutures are used during the repair so that there is not a lot of material there to heal around and most of the sutures are dissolvable. Usually, there is no bleeding involved. After the first week, you can continue with light activity but no exercising or sexual activity, or swimming until the area is completely healed. Healing may take 4 to 6 weeks depending on the extent of the repair or just the person herself. Some people heal more slowly than others. I will usually remove most of the sutures after 2 – 3 weeks for patient comfort. The area is just rinsed with clear or lightly soapy water for the first few weeks, so you avoid touching the repair.
Can Other Procedures Be Performed Along With The Labiaplasty?
Yes, labiaplasty can be performed with a vaginal rejuvenation procedure, a perineorrhaphy (or tightening of the vaginal opening), a clitoral hood reduction, a monsplasty, hymenoplasty, or other pelvic procedures. We try to avoid performing larger procedures at the same time due to longer recovery and trauma and stress to the body and to limit the amount of discomfort you are feeling.
What Are The Complications Of A Labiaplasty?
There are various methods of performing a labiaplasty. The most common method which results in complications is the wedge labiaplasty where a wedge is removed from the labia to preserve the natural border of the labia. This method requires more time and more suturing to bring the tissue together and it can sometimes separate when healing.
There are many doctors performing labiaplasty who are not adequately trained and this can result in botched labiaplasty. Problems such as the removal of too much tissue can cause gaping of the vagina, or sometimes basically no labia minora is left, the clitoris is too exposed,
As with all other surgical procedures, complications such as infection, hematoma (blood clot in the tissue), and sutures separating, are possible but not that common. Most specific to labiaplasty are issues such as sutures tearing through the tissue which may leave some holes or uneven edges. Scar formation is rare but scar widening with labiamajoraplasty is possible, fenestrations, and color variations can occur.
All in all complication rates are low – 2%- 4% in general. Patients who have a high BMI, are smokers, do not follow directions closely, and are at increased risk.
Should You Be A Candidate For Labiaplasty?
Yes, any woman is a candidate. Please make an appointment with Dr. Dolores Kent for a consultation to see how she can help you improve your self-image, restore your confidence, or simply advise you on whether you should get a cosmetic gynecological procedure.