A labiaplasty, sometimes referred to as a labia reduction, is a surgical procedure designed to reshape or reduce the length of the labia for medical reasons or to improve the appearance of the external genitals. The procedure can be performed alone or in conjunction with a vaginoplasty to tighten vaginal tissue that has become slack due to childbirth or age. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgery, the number of labiaplasty procedures performed in the U.S. increased by 49 percent from 2013 to 2014.
Reasons a Woman Might Consider Labiaplasty
A woman may choose to reshape or reduce the tissue surrounding the vagina for a number of reasons, including:
- The labia are asymmetrical.
- The tissue has stretched due to childbirth.
- The vaginal lips are hanging or too long.
- The length or size of the labia causes pain or discomfort when sitting, wearing certain clothes, or during intercourse.
How is a Labiaplasty Performed?
Labiaplasty is performed as an outpatient procedure and normally takes one to two hours. IV sedation is used to induce a twilight sleep. The surgeon then uses either a trim or wedge technique to remove the unwanted labial skin. The trim method removes excess labial skin along the entire length of the labia minora. The wedge technique removes a wedge-shaped section of the labia to reduce the overall size of the labia minora. Most patients are able to go home within an hour after the procedure.
What is the Recovery Process Like?
You should remain off work for the first week following the surgery. You should also use a donut cushion and sitz baths to relieve any swelling and discomfort. We advise patients to refrain from sexual intercourse for the first three weeks following the procedure. You should be able to resume your normal activities after four weeks, and any residual swelling should be gone after six weeks.
Potential Risks and Complications
Complications from labiaplasty are generally rare and are similar to those associated with any surgical procedure, such as:
- Post-surgical infection.
- Ongoing Pain.
- A loss or change in sensation.
To reduce the risk of complications, it is important to choose a surgeon with experience and a proven track record. Dr. Scott Harris and Dr. John Standefer are board certified plastic surgeons and serve as co-medical directors of Fresh Image Cosmetic Surgery Center. Both doctors have published extensive articles in the field of aesthetic surgery and spend considerable time keeping abreast of the latest surgical techniques and sharing their expertise with others.
If you want to find out if labiaplasty is right for you, call Fresh Image Cosmetic Surgery Center to arrange a consultation with Dr. Harris or Dr. Standefer. They will be happy to discuss the benefits and risks of the procedure and answer any questions you may have.