Labiaplasty is a surgical, vaginal rejuvenation procedure that involves altering the appearance of the labia minora (inner lips) and in some cases the labia majora (outer lips). While the reasons for getting labiaplasty are different for every woman, most procedures are performed to create a more pleasing or ‘tidy’ appearance to the vulva and vagina.
Why Get a Labiaplasty?
Most plastic surgeons will agree that there is no universally accepted opinion of how the vulva or labia should look. This is due to the fact that what is considered to be “normal,” varies considerably amongst female patients. Factors such as: age, genetics, and giving birth vaginally, can all influence the outward appearance of the vaginal area.
Some women may have inner labia that are longer than their outer labia, and vice versa. The labia may be perfectly symmetrical or one side can be thicker or hang down lower than the other. Irregularity in appearance is never a problem unless the woman personally decides that it is for her, and seeks medical intervention. Regardless of the cause of the aesthetic issue, often, the reason that women opt for labiaplasty is because they desire a look that is more ‘tucked in.” In some cases, there may be a functional concern in addition to an aesthetic concern.
For example, a doctor may recommend labiaplasty surgery for medical reasons. If the labia minora are too long, it can make sexual intercourse extremely uncomfortable. Similarly, normal activities such as walking, running or riding a bike can cause pain, irritation, and in some cases tearing and chafing of the delicate area.
What Happens During Surgery?
A surgeon may choose one of two techniques for labiaplasty surgery: the Trim Technique or the Wedge Technique.
Trim Labiaplasty Technique
Trim labiaplasty, also called edge resection, involves removing the outer edges of the inner labia to improve their shape and size and to reduce any protrusion so that the inner labia align with the outer labia.
Main Advantage of the Trim Labiaplasty Technique
The main benefit of the trim technique is the removal of the darkly pigmented tissue on the edges of the labia minora. In fact, this is the reason that many women opt for this type of cosmetic labiaplasty surgery.
Wedge Labiaplasty Technique
The wedge technique, or wedge resection, is a more recent and advanced labiaplasty procedure which involves removing wedge-shaped pieces of skin from the center of the labia minora. The remaining skin is stitched together using dissolvable sutures.
Main Advantages of Wedge Labiaplasty Technique
As far as benefits go, many women find that the wedge technique preserves more of their natural anatomy and creates a natural-looking border. There are no stitches required along the borders of the labia with this technique, thereby reducing the likelihood of developing scarring.
What Kind of Results Can I Expect?
Under the care of an experienced and reputable surgeon, most women are extremely satisfied with their labiaplasty results. This outpatient procedure can dramatically improve the aesthetics of the vulva and therefore a woman’s confidence and self-esteem.
For those who have had to endure physical discomfort due to the anatomy of their labia, such as tugging, twisting and tearing, the procedure can be life-changing. Post-surgery, a woman can enjoy great relief in regaining her freedom to move without restriction, and to finally be able to enjoy sex without discomfort. Complementary procedures such as the vaginoplasty vaginal tightening can also be performed alongside with the labiaplasty to increase tightness.
What is the Recovery Period Like for Labiaplasty Surgery?
As with any surgery, it is normal to experience some swelling, bleeding, bruising and pain. Acute symptoms, such as swelling, will typically subside after a week and most activities can be resumed after approximately 4-6 weeks at the recommendation of the surgeon. It can however, take up to six months for complete healing and recovery.
Patients are prescribed medications for post-surgery recovery. Medications may include: antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and analgesics. Over-the-counter pain medications are often all that is needed for managing pain post-procedure at the advice of your surgeon. During the recovery process it is best to wear loose-fitting clothing, avoid sexual activity, use pads instead of tampons and take soothing sitz baths.
Are There Any Risks or Side-effects After Labiaplasty Surgery?
All surgeries carry a certain amount of risk. In the hands of a highly skilled, trained and experienced surgeon, however, these risks are greatly diminished. In any case, it is possible to develop complications such as overcorrection, numbness, decreased sensitivity, scarring, vaginal dryness and pain.
Can Any Plastic Surgeon Perform a Labiaplasty?
While it is true that any plastic/cosmetic surgeon can perform labiaplasty surgery, opting for a specialist who is highly reputable and experienced in cosmetic gynecology and labiaplasty surgery is highly recommended for optimal results.
Dr. Ammar Mahmoud is a NYC physician and surgeon specializing in labiaplasty in New York City. To learn more about the right procedure for you we invite you to schedule your no-obligation consultation at Labiaplasty NYC.