What Is Labiaplasty?
The technical term for labiaplasty is labia change which could include reduction or changing shape or reconstruction of deformed or missing part. It refers to a cosmetic procedure, which reduces the size or in some cases, changes the shape of the lips on the exterior of the woman’s vagina. It can refer to labia majora which are the external lips which are also hair bearing or the internal lips which are located inside the external lips and enfold the vaginal opening, urethra and clitoris.
Many females at puberty may see that their labia minora may be unusually large or have an unusual shape. Some women develop hypertrophic or enlarged labia minora after multiple childbirths or as the result of aging. Some develop varicosities in their labia majora after childbirth and some develop atrophy of labia majora after menopause. For many women, this may be a source of embarrassment, especially during sexual intercourse. This can bring on a loss of self-esteem and a loss of libido. If the extension of the labia called crura cover the clitoris it may also cause decrease in sensation during sexual activity.
Chronic irritation of the labia can sometimes develop, which results in genuine discomfort during sex, athletics (bicycling, spinning) and wearing fitted pants or bathing suit.
Labiaplasty is a short procedure performed most often in an outpatient surgical facility. It usually takes only one hour. The procedure is done with sedation anesthesia (twilight) or if the patient requests, general anesthesia can be used. If it is done under sedation a local injection into the operative site is also done. Discuss ahead of time which approach your doctor advises and also choose the one you prefer. In recent years some doctors advocate using lasers during the surgery to trim the labia size. However, it is much safer to use conventional surgical methods. Following the procedure, the patient spends about an hour in the recovery room; where a registered nurse supervises her. Following the surgery, there will be minor discomfort and swelling of the surgery site for a few days, which gradually decreases. It takes about six weeks to be completely healed. In the post surgery period the patient is treated with pain medication as necessary and antibiotics. Application of ointments and ice is also recommended.
Although few, as with any surgery, there are some risks associated with labiaplasty surgery. Most commonly, one is concerned with the possibility of developing scarring, bleeding, or infection. These are rare, when performed by top surgeons in approved and licensed facilities. According to one study, four years after the procedure more than 95 percent of patients were happy with the outcome of this procedure.
What results can be expected? The labia should appear smaller and hidden within the labia majora. The color of the skin should be pink as most dark pigment should be removed at surgery. After a few months, any discomfort associated with wearing tight clothing or sports, which was due to enlarged labia, is gone.
Some women worry that a labiaplasty may decrease their sexual pleasure. This is not true, since the clitoris which is the female structure most associated with sensory pleasure is not involved or changed during this procedure.