Everything You Need To Know About Labiaplasty

September 08, 2021
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You’ve heard of breast lifts and facelifts, but have you ever heard of a labia lift? A recent publication in the New York Times has shone a light on the rising popularity of genital surgery amongst younger women - specifically a labiaplasty.

Labiaplasty is becoming the most popular go-to cosmetic surgery around the world according to recent plastic surgery reports. But why? Does a labiaplasty come with any benefit to the individual?

A labiaplasty can address several issues; it aims to rejuvenate your vagina and give you a more youthful look, reducing the enlargement of the labia minora so that it does not hang below the labia majora, which can also cause increased discomfort, and a labiaplasty can also reduce the risk of contracting urinary tract infections and improve hygiene.

We’re going to share with you our knowledge regarding the truth behind labiaplasties and whether one could be the right option for you.

Labiaplasty From A Doctor’s Perspective

What Is A Labiaplasty?

A Labiaplasty is an invasive, surgical procedure that has been designed to reshape the labia minora. If you’re unsure what your labia minora is, it is the flap of skin found on either side of the vaginal opening.

The surgical procedure is usually carried out under local anaesthetic, and so you would not be put to sleep prior to your surgery. However, your surgeon may offer you a sedative. If you have ever thought about carrying out your own labiaplasty procedure...DON’T. A surgical procedure should always be carried out by a surgeon.

A labiaplasty can address multiple aspects of the vagina, such as the shape and size of your labia, and even alter the symmetry.

Additionally, women opt for labiaplasty to help improve sexual function in special circumstances, and allow for more comfort when wearing tighter clothing or during exercise.

Labiaplasty Procedure

The labiaplasty procedure is usually carried out in an outpatient setting in your surgeon’s office, meaning that most people can go home the same day. There are two distinct methods by which your surgeon can perform your labiaplasty surgery:

  1. Trim (edge) method - This method is best used to regain labial symmetry and alter a protuberant labia by excising the excess skin using various tools such as a scalpel or laser.
  2. Wedge method - This method is used to preserve the edge of the labia by resecting only a wedge of protuberant labia in a V shape.

Both of these surgical methods are performed under local anesthetic and take around one hour to complete depending on the extent of labial enlargement complexity. However, both of these come with their own advantages and disadvantages:

  • The trim method is a shorter procedure
  • The trim method rids you of any dark pigmentation
  • The wedge method has a smoother transition between the labia and clitoral hood
  • The wedge method results are more symmetrical

Generally, the trim labiaplasty method is used for those who want to prioritise the removal of excess skin and darker hyperpigmentation, whereas the wedge method is used for women who want a natural tightening of their labia minora.

Labiaplasty Recovery

Like any other cosmetic procedure, a labiaplasty requires a certain degree of downtime to allow scarring, healing, and swelling reduction. This should be observed after 6 weeks.

The sutures used during labiaplasty are completely absorbed by the fatty tissue and will usually not need a further procedure to be removed.

Continuous postoperative visits on a fortnightly basis will help evaluate the progression of the recovery and allow for the diagnosis of possible complications - if any at all.

Your surgeon will usually recommend that you take a week off work and longer with strenuous activities following a labiaplasty procedure. You will be sent home with multiple dressings, creams and cold packs to apply in order to prevent infection and reduce swelling.

In order to further reduce these symptoms, your surgeon or nurse will give you a post-operative care pack that goes into detail about the steps you need to take to ensure rapid recovery, such as those found in our guide to the recovery stages following a labiaplasty.

Post-operative pain can be managed using pain killers. If the pain is too much, you can speak to your surgeon who will prescribe you a stronger course of pain killers.

Sutures are used in order to close any excised gaps. The sutures used throughout the labiaplasty procedure are absorbable and will not need another procedure to be removed. Returning to usual activity can be seen 7-14 days after the procedure, and more vigorous activity and sexual intercourse can be resumed 6 weeks following labiaplasty.

Labiaplasty From A Patient’s Perspective

Am I A Candidate For A Labiaplasty?

The enlargement of your labia minora is overwhelmingly congenital, although various studies have shown that women have experienced labia enlargement after childbirth, aging, and hormone alternations.

A labiaplasty can be indicated for women from the age of 12 if the symptoms are extreme and proving to affect self-esteem, discomfort, and hygiene. However, it is recommended that a labiaplasty should only be performed for aesthetic reasons in sexually mature women over the age of 18.

Now, in order to identify whether you are a good candidate for labiaplasty or not, there are several questions you should consider asking yourself:

  • Are you displeased with the size and shape of your labia?
  • Do you experience discomfort or irritation due to your enlarged labia?
  • Is your mental health stable enough to go through the changes experienced by the procedure?
  • Do you have realistic expectations as to what the results look like?
  • Will you willingly abide by the post-procedure care and abstain from sexual intercourse for 6 weeks?

Labial enlargement and discomfort can create a huge emotional burden for women. If you have answered yes to all the above, then you are indeed a good candidate for labiaplasty and you may call our clinic to arrange an appointment with a surgeon.

The Benefits Of Labiaplasty:

Women with uneven or enlarged labia will often suffer from a variety of mental health effects secondary to the physical appearance of their labia. For example, many will suffer from diminished self-esteem, confidence, embarrassment when engaging with a new sexual partner, and other issues.

Fortunately, a labiaplasty is a safe, quick, and efficient procedure that could hopefully resolve all of the above as well as coming with its own host of benefits.

Sleeker, more elegant aesthetics

Depending on which labiaplasty procedure you opt for, your surgeon can target the surgery towards removing the excess, overhanging skin and tackle any darker pigmentation which you may find unsightly.

If the labia majora is also enlarged, skin can be removed during the same procedure that removes the skin from the labia minora. In special circumstances where excess skin is found on the clitoral hood, the same procedure can be applied to excise the excess skin and expose the clitoral hood for a more sleek look and perhaps a heightened sexual experience.

Comfort

When the outer labial lips are enlarged, they can cause a certain degree of discomfort when wearing tighter-fitting clothing. Skinny jeans, certain swimsuits, and tight-fitting lingerie can all put pressure on the vulva and excess skin which results in pain, rashes, and other uncomfortable issues.

Through careful surgical technique, these issues can be resolved to alleviate any excess pressure felt from wearing these tight, fashionable garments, and allow you to dress comfortably.

How long is recovery from a Labiaplasty?

Every woman who has undergone labiaplasty will heal differently. Your body always needs time to recover from trauma such as surgery, and allow it to get used to its new norm.

Over 90% of women who have suffered tremendous discomfort when it comes to wearing tight-fitting clothing or during sexual activities will show signs of relief and happiness once their surgery is complete and their vaginas have recovered. Most women will begin to see their results begin to take shape a couple of months after their surgery once all swelling and suture lines have diminished.

However, if you do not feel that a labiaplasty is for you, you can try to opt for alternative procedures such as radiofrequency labiaplasty and laser labiaplasty.

Psychological Impact Of A Labiaplasty

Similar to other features that can be altered by cosmetic surgery, the look of a woman’s vagina can have a detrimental impact on their mental health.

The stresses that may arise due to the lack of confidence when it comes to exploring sexual partners can cause women to suffer from anxiety, depression, and a certain degree of body dysmorphia.

Based on evidence and intuitive results, the comfort a woman has with the appearance of her body features significantly impacts their mental state when it comes to sexual interaction.

Women may feel embarrassed, distressed, or even sexually dissatisfied due to their enlarged labia or clitoral hoods. One study was carried out that proved an enhancement in sexual psychology post labiaplasty procedure.

It is, therefore, proven, that a labiaplasty can bring out the following benefits:

Heightened Sexual Confidence

When a woman is conscious about the look of her vagina, she may lack confidence when it comes to exploring sexual options and opening to a new sexual partner. Labiaplasty diminishes all self-esteem and confidence-related issues as it gives your vagina a new sleek look.

A labiaplasty is an attractive option for women who have experienced multiple childbirths and wish to restore their stretched or elongated vaginas back to a more youthful appearance.

Enhanced Sexual Pleasure

The removal of excess skin around the vagina and clitoral hood can lead to enhanced pleasure when carrying out sexual acts.

Hygiene

Enlarged labia or clitoral hoods can cause an impact on a woman’s genital hygiene. These hygienic challenges are attended to following a labiaplasty surgery which not only reduces the rates at which a woman may develop a UTI but enhances the woman’s sexual confidence.

What You Should Consider About Labiaplasty

Now that we’ve discussed the array of benefits that can arise from a labiaplasty procedure, you need to consider a few things.

Firstly, if you’re unhappy with the look of your vagina, why don’t you check out The Great Wall Of Vagina. The first and foremost thing you need to be aware of as somebody who has a vagina is that vaginas come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and all of these are normal.

Some labias are short, some are long, some are dark, and some are lighter in tone, all of these are absolutely normal and have nothing wrong with them. Symmetry is rare when talked about in an anatomical sense, as very few body parts have direct symmetry.

Secondly, labiaplasties are not deemed as medically necessary procedures - otherwise, they would be available at most national health services and hospitals. Labiaplasties, in some ways, can be compared to circumcision in men. Circumcisions are only carried out for 2 reasons: religious, or due to ongoing infections.

Saying that, if your labia are excessively large and have predisposed you to various recurrent infections, then we completely agree that a labiaplasty is medically necessary for you. Other, more extreme circumstances that may warrant a labiaplasty include being a victim of genital mutilation, sexual abuse resulting in physical labial changes, and having complicated childbirth.

A note - labiaplasties may sometimes be classified as a form of female genital mutilation, and therefore surgeons must take the necessary steps to ensure their safe and legal practice.

Risks and Complications

As with any other surgery, there are various risks that occur as a result of a labiaplasty procedure.

The first risk you encounter throughout your labiaplasty procedure is if a general anesthetic is used. These medications come with an extensive list of various side effects that can last for up to 24 hours after surgery.

Secondly, you risk excessive bleeding. Although no major arteries are found within the regions of your labia, if your blood pressure changes throughout the surgery you may be at risk of any excess bleeding.

Third, and most commonly seen in surgeries - infection. Surgery requires the incision of the skin, exposing the body’s internal composure to bacteria. Although prophylactic antibiotics are generally administered prior to your surgery, there is still a risk of a systemic or localized infection.

Now, all the risks described above do not correlate to your vaginal sensations or aesthetics. However, the risks below are all relevant to the look and feel of your new vagina.

As we have mentioned, there is very little symmetry within the human body, all the way from our eyes to our toes.  However, although some of the reasons for labiaplasty may be due to symmetry for a heightened visual aesthetic, the symmetry may not be 100%, as scarring and pigmentation will defer from side to side.

Furthermore, those who have a labiaplasty surgery are at risk of numbness and possible loss of sexual stimulation. If the labiaplasty includes procedures involving the clitoral hood, certain aspects of clitoral sensitivity may be lost, resulting in reduced sexual pleasure which may ultimately lead to an increased prevalence of mental health issues surrounding sex.

As you can see, determining whether a labiaplasty is right for you does not only rely on the visual aesthetics of your labia, but also on whether you are mentally stable to go through this procedure knowing the possible risks you may encounter.

Who Can I Talk To About Labiaplasty?

As each and every woman and vagina are different, in order for you to find the best possible procedure suitable to your needs, we recommend that you arrange a consultation with our surgeons here at MeClinic at your earliest convenience in order to obtain a professional evaluation and opinion.

Our expertly trained surgeons have over 35 years of experience in cosmetic procedures and medicine which they are very happy to share with you, making us one of the leading cosmetic practices in Australia. Our discreet and welcoming environment allows you to feel comfortable when sharing the conditions that may have affected you and discover your treatment options.

To find out more, make sure to visit our Labiaplasty Melbourne page and contact us to arrange your appointment.

Labiaplasty FAQs

Why Is A Labiaplasty Performed?

A labiaplasty is performed in order to reduce the size of your labia minora and adjust the shape to suit your required, practical and cosmetic appearance. This will provide both psychological and physical benefits.

Why Is My Labia Enlarged?

An enlarged labia is natural. It occurs due to various reasons such as:

  • Genetic disposition
  • Aging
  • Childbirth
  • Sexual Activity

How Long Does A Labiaplasty Procedure Take?

Depending on whether you opt for a Trim procedure or a Wedge procedure, your procedure should last anywhere between 45 minutes to an hour and a half.

What Are The Risks And Complications Of Labiaplasty?

As with all surgeries that require an area of the body to be incised, the complications and risks that may arise from a labiaplasty are as follows:

  • Bleeding (if you are taking any medications that thin your blood such as warfarin or NSAIDs then please make your surgeon aware)
  • Hematoma
  • Infection
  • Chronic Dryness
  • Numbness
  • Scarring

For more detailed information regarding the risks and complications of labiaplasty surgery we recommend you ask your surgeon during your initial consultation. These risks will also be present in a patient-information leaflet which will be given to your prior to your surgery.

How much Does A Labiaplasty Cost?

Click on the provided link to learn more about the costs of a labiaplasty procedure at Me Clinic.

Posted In Labiaplasty

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