Labiaplasty offers a solution for women who suffer from enlarged labia. Although it’s still a small percentage of all cosmetic surgeries, the procedure is becoming more popular. From 2013 to 2015 the number of operations has increased 74%, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. But many may still be wondering what the procedure is, how it works, and whether it’s right for them.
What is labiaplasty?
It’s a surgical procedure to decrease the size of the labia minora, or inner lips of the vagina. It can also repair misshapen or uneven labia. In a few cases, patients opt to minimize or even out the labia majora, (the outer lips of the vagina).
Who might want labiaplasty?
Although there’s no medical “norm” for the size of labia, some women have inner lips that extend beyond the outer ones. This can cause pain during exercises like running, biking, or other types of cardio. Women may also experience discomfort during sexual intercourse, or even chafing from snug clothing. In extreme cases, recurring infections can be an issue, as well as difficulty urinating and problems with feminine hygiene.
On an emotional level, women with pronounced labia may feel embarrassed in bathing suits, running shorts, or yoga pants. It also might prevent some from feeling beautiful or sexy, interfering with a normal love life. Most patients who chose this surgery are between 19 and 50 years old.
What are the causes?
It’s not unusual to be born with larger labia, but other factors can increase their size as well, including childbirth, hormonal changes from pregnancy, or significant weight loss. Brazilian waxes to remove all pubic hair can make labia look more pronounced as well.
Is this the same as vaginal rejuvenation?
Labiaplasty can be part of a vaginal rejuvenation process, but they are not the same thing. Vaginal rejuvenation refers to any series of treatments designed to enhance certain properties of the vagina, including reattaching a hymen, removing the clitoral hood, and tightening the tissue after childbirth. Labiaplasty is specific and only addresses the size and shape of the labia, while vaginal rejuvenation is more broad.
How does it work?
At Aesthetica, Dr. Chang uses a wedge technique, which he adapted from a similar procedure described by nationally acclaimed cosmetic surgery pioneer, Dr. Gary Alter. The technique includes removing a vertical wedge of the labia minora, leaving the natural edge untouched. The advantage to this is it results in a nearly invisible scar.
The procedure is an outpatient visit, usually performed with local or twilight anesthesia. It takes about an hour, followed by two or three days of bed rest to recover as there may be some mild pain and swelling following the procedure.
Most women go back to work within a week but are advised to keep activity minimal for two or three weeks. The doctor may also advise avoiding tampons, thongs, G-strings, or sexual intercourse for six to eight weeks.
What are the risks?
As with any procedure, there are risks. It’s very important to find a board-certified surgeon who can present quality before and after photos of their work.
The most common risks include infection, permanent changes in sensation, pain, and scarring. Women who are pregnant or have a gynecological disease should not have labiaplasty. mokers should quit at least for the surgery and during recovery, as tobacco impedes healing and can cause complications.
Before moving forward, the surgeon will go over the reasons for considering labiaplasty and expectations for the results. It may make sense to plan for a combination of treatments to get the desired outcome.
Here are some important questions to ask the doctor:
- What are the long-term risks?
- What are the benefits?
- Will I have reduced sensation in my vagina or clitoris?
- Will surgery affect my ability to have an orgasm?
- Will I need to change my feminine hygiene routine afterward?
- Could it affect my ability to get pregnant or have children?
- Are my expectations realistic?
- What are the non-surgical options?
At Aesthetica, we have a client satisfaction rate of over 90% for labiaplasty. If you have any questions about the procedure, or if you want to find out if it’s right for you, contact us today for your free, confidential consultation.