What is Labiaplasty?
This is an operation to reduce and reshape the external lips of the vagina - the labia. Labia reduction, Labia Reshaping and Female Genital Plastic Surgery are also terms used to describe this operation.
Why have Labiaplasty?
Some women find that the internal lips (labia minora) or external lips (labia majora) become larger through natural growth and development or following from child birth. You may be unhappy with the external appearance or the appearance through clothes. Large labia may cause discomfort with some clothes, during sports or during intercourse.
How is the operation done?
This is a sensitive, personal issue for patients and we want to make sure you feel confident, comfortable and treated with dignity and privacy when you have your consultation and subsequent surgery.
Labiaplasty can be done as an awake operation (local anaesthetic) or whilst you are asleep (general anaesthetic). There are pro's and con's for each of these choices which will be discussed with you at consultation. In both cases you will be able to go home on the day of surgery.
The operation takes approximately 60 minutes to complete and there is some additional time in advance of awake operations for local anaesthetic creams to be absorbed.
The Labia are reshaped to give a neat and natural appearance. There is a small surgical wound and absorbable stitches are used. Antibiotic ointment is applied at the end of the surgery.
What happens after surgery?
You will need to wear a pad or sanitary towel for 1-2 weeks and you should apply antibiotic twice a day for a week. You can have a brief shower or flannel wash but bathing and swimming should be avoided for 2 weeks. During the first 2 weeks rinse or shower gently around the labia as the stitches may be disturbed by more vigorous washing and soaping. You may find it more comfortable or helpful to use wet wipes instead of toilet paper after urinating.
The labia will be sensitive and tender after surgery and you can expect some swelling and bruising; the labia are naturally soft and stretchy and also 'dependent' (the lowest part of your trunk) so swelling can sometimes be quite pronounced but it will settle during the weeks after surgery. You can help with swelling by using cooling compresses and by avoiding long periods of time standing or sitting up. It is advisable to plan a quiet week at home after your operation.
You should obtain some soft supportive (but not tight) underwear to wear on the day of surgery and to use after your operation; sports briefs are a good choice.
When can I resume normal activities after my operation?
Surgical wounds take approximately 6 weeks to become strong so you should avoid sports and sexual intercourse for this period of time. When you resume these activities they may be uncomfortable initially and massaging the maturing scars will be helpful.
Are there any risks from this operation?
This is a safe operation which helps to improve self confidence and comfort for patients. In keeping with all types of operation there are risks which include bleeding, wound infection, wound failure, tight or heavy scarring, altered sensation (usually temporary). These are all very unusual in labiaplasty surgery.
Labiaplasty can be done as a local anaesthetic (awake) operation or under general anaesthetic. Overdeveloped vaginal lips ('labia') are surgically reduced in size to improve appearance and comfort. It can be done as an individual procedure and it is frequently done at the same time as other cosmetic surgery procedures.