Labiaplasty is a female cosmetic surgical procedure that reduces the size of one or both sets of labia, or the external folds of tissue surrounding the vulva. This procedure is useful for women who are experiencing problems with large labia, asymmetric labia or related female genital issues. Many factors can affect the appearance of the labia, including childbirth, age, or hormones, or they can happen naturally. Labiaplasty allows labia (minora and majora) that are larger then normal, misshapen or irregular, to be reduced in size or aesthetically corrected.
There are numerous reasons why a woman may consider labiaplasty surgery. Many women consider their labia not aesthetically pleasing. These women believe their genitalia unattractive and this can cause feelings of severe embarrassment or loss of self-esteem, which may affect their personal relationships with their sexual partner. Labiaplasty surgery to sculpt the labia into a more pleasing shape or size may help improve self-esteem and allow women to develop more comfortable sexual relationships.
Discomfort and pain
Often women chose labiaplasty because of the medical issues involved with having excessively large or thick labia that can cause discomfort, and even pain, from irritation when wearing tight pants, sitting for extended periods, or performing sports activities. The surgery reduces the labia and can often eliminate this discomfort and soreness.
The surgery itself is usually an outpatient procedure performed under local or general anesthesia that takes approximately one to two hours. In the central wedge resection technique for labiaplasty, two pie-shaped wedges of tissue are removed from the labia. This technique leaves behind minimal scars and preserves the natural edge of the labia for a more realistic appearance.
After the procedure, most women experience minimal discomfort, allowing them to go home the day of the surgery. Pain medication may be prescribed if required, as well as oral antibiotics if necessary. Most discomfort and pain subsides in a few days. Swelling is normal and this too will decrease within a few days and usually disappear within one to two weeks.
The majority of women undergoing labiaplasty surgery are able to return to work and normal life behaviors within three to five days, and to activities that are more strenuous in about three weeks. During this time, tampon use is not recommended, and tight clothing in the labia region (i.e. thong panties) should not be worn. Sexual intercourse should be avoided until the incisions are healed, which is usually around four weeks.
The permanent results of labiaplasty surgery can give many women the self-esteem and confidence they feel they are lacking. The relief of pain and soreness that can be provided by this surgery often allows a woman to feel as though she has a fulfilling life back.