No two labia look alike. This is natural and normal. There are, however, some changes to the size and shape that can happen after childbirth, trauma or as a result of the natural aging process. Some women are born with labia that have aesthetic or functional concerns that can impact their quality of life.
Labiaplasty is a surgical procedure that can address certain genetic or birth defects, abnormalities, and also the desire to improve aesthetic appearance. Feeling self-conscious about the appearance of your most intimate of parts can result in distanced relationships and a lack of sexual intimacy with a partner.
Labiaplasty can treat oversized, asymmetrical and elongated labia minora. The labia minora (inner labia) is typically concealed within the labia majora (outer labia). Tearing and stretching of the labia can result in labia ‘lips’ becoming more prominent. Patients who have changes may see them more during sexual arousal. The inner labia can swell up to three times its usual diameter. Labiaplasty is also a key part of sexual reassignment surgery for male-to-female transformation. The vaginoplasty procedure uses labiaplasty techniques to construct the inner labia and a clitoral hood.
CONSULTING YOUR COSMETIC SURGEON
Prior to considering the labiaplasty procedure, it is worth noting that the huge variations is appearance amongst women means that the appearance of your labia quite likely falls within the normal range. Surgery is a consideration in cases where the comfort, health and mental health of the patient is being impacted. A consultation with your cosmetic surgeon will address your concerns and help you to work towards realistic aesthetic goals.
Labiaplasty is not the ideal surgery for all patients. Those who have a gynaecological disease or certain types of cancer might not be suitable candidates. Smokers should quit the habit for a period of time before and after the operation in order to optimise healing.
Dr Laniewski and his staff understand that these are very private concerns to discuss. Issues surrounding the labia or perhaps sexual issues can cause great discomfort, despite the desire to improve aesthetics. You’ll find that our clinic provides a confidential, caring and professional environment that supports the comfort of every patient.
Some of the concerns that our patients have discussed with us in the past could include the following:
- Complications of the surgery, and long-term risks associated with surgery on the labia and surrounding areas.
- Fears about a drastic decrease in sensation, or concerns about no longer being able to achieve an orgasm.
- Concerns about complications that may become a reality when it comes to feminine hygiene products, like tampons.
- Discussions about any types of non-surgical options that could achieve the same or very similar desired outcome.
- Any potential concerns about future pregnancies or childbirth.
- The benefits of labiaplasty and the important of having realistic expectations from this type of cosmetic surgery.
THE LABIAPLASTY PROCEDURE
There are several different types of labiaplasty procedures, that can each provide a variety of outcomes for the patient. As an experienced specialist plastic surgeon, Dr Laniewski is able to provide solutions for every individual situation. Labiaplasty surgical procedures include the following.
- Edge resection: This technique offers a focus on removing the naturally wrinkled edge of the inner labia in situations where it is extended and overly prominent.
- Central wedge resection: With this approach, a wedge of tissue is removed from the thicker area of the inner labia. The natural wrinkled appearance of the labia edge is retained while situating it more discretely within the outer labia.
- De-epithelialization: This technique preserves the natural inner labia edge yet diminishes the overall size by removing epithelium from aspects of the labia. Epithelium is tissue that lines the surface of the labia.
- Laser labiaplasty: This less invasive procedure uses advanced laser technology for the removal of epithelium tissue on the labia.
- Labiaplasty and clitoral unhooding: In some patients, the thickness of skin on the clitoral hood can be aesthetically displeasing. It can also prove to be an impediment to sexual arousal. Repositioning the clitoral hood can assist with tightening of the inner labia, and also help to restore some of the sensitivity that the patient may be lacking.
The type of anesthesia used will depend upon the technique that is used during the surgery. It is usually a same-day operation that will allow patients to recover in the comfort of their own home.
LABIAPLASTY SURGERY POST-OPERATIVE CARE
The anaesthesia used during the operation can quite often result in swelling. This will diminish fairly quickly. Your cosmetic surgeon will advise you regarding appropriate home-care, including cleansing of any incisions during recovery. Patients may feel fatigued for a day or two after surgery. Listen to your body and rest. Patients should take up to a week off from work. This will ensure full recovery and comfort when resuming normal activities.
You will have some discomfort and tenderness immediately following the surgery. Dr Laniewski will recommend pain management solutions. Patients will be advised to abstain from sexual activity until healing is complete.
Labiaplasty has become an increasingly common procedure in recent years. This is partially due to more exposure and understanding about the procedure and the benefits it can offer. Surgical satisfaction among labiaplasty patients is very high. Patients can often experience a number of improvements, including in their intimate lives.