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Labiaplasty: Is It Right for You?

Surgery has made great leaps in the past century, turning complex procedures that were once only imagined into reality. Labiaplasty is one of these procedures. It can be performed for medical or aesthetic reasons, or a combination of both. Some people also undergo a procedure called vaginoplasty as part of a vaginal rejuvenation or vaginal reconstruction surgery.

What is a labiaplasty?

Labiaplasty is also known as labial reduction. As its name suggests, this procedure is carried out to alter the appearance of the inner or outer labia, or labia minora and labia majora.

The labia are the folds of sensitive skin that surround your vulva and vaginal opening.

Reasons why women decide to have vaginal rejuvenation

There are many different reasons why someone may require a labiaplasty. Some women have long or large labia that interfere with intercourse and cause painful sex. Elongated labia can also interfere with the activities of athletes, dancers, or other women who frequently engage in physical activity.

Labiaplasty is also sometimes a part of genital reconstruction surgery for a person who was born with physical abnormalities. However, the reasons people get labiaplasty are usually psychological or emotional, rather than physical. If you’re considering labiaplasty for aesthetic reasons, it’s very important to have realistic expectations and to discuss all the aspects of the procedure with qualified medical professionals. Remember, it’s an invasive surgical procedure that carries certain risks.

It’s easy to feel self–conscious about our bodies, and that includes our genitals. Many of us are prone to comparing ourselves to what we consider “ideal” bodies.

However, all bodies are different, and there are many different labia shapes and sizes that are still normal. It’s very likely that your vulva is perfectly normal, even if you don’t feel like it is. Developing a healthy body image can help us feel happier and more satisfied with our lives — including our sexual lives.

What does labiaplasty involve?

Labiaplasty can be performed on its own or in conjunction with other procedures. It can be carried out under local anesthesia with sedation or general anesthesia. Your surgical team will help you decide which of these options is best for you.

There are different labiaplasty techniques. Your plastic surgeon will consider your specific characteristics and goals to decide which of these techniques to use. The most common labiaplasty techniques include:

  • Edge resection, during which the excess labial tissue is removed by cutting the most protruding edges of the labia minora
  • Wedge resection, during which a wedge shape is removed from both sides of the labia, and the remaining edges are stitched together 
  • Central resection, during which the tissue is removed from the center of the labia, maintaining the original texture, contour, and pigmentation of the labial edge 

Post–operative pain tends to be minimal, and in most cases, patients are able to go home the same day of the surgery. The labia will probably be very swollen after surgery. A medical team will provide instruction for taking care of the surgical wound, which typically includes cleaning the labia and applying a topical antibiotic ointment 2 to 3 times per day.

It’s necessary to restrain from sex and avoid using tampons or wearing tight clothes for at least 4 weeks after the procedure.

If there aren’t any complications, light physical activity can be resumed 3 to 4 days after the labiaplasty. Usually, it’s necessary to restrain from sex and avoid using tampons or wearing tight clothes for at least 4 weeks after the procedure.

Possible complications of labiaplasty

Just like any other surgical procedure, labiaplasty can lead to complications, which can range from mild to severe. The most common complications associated with labiaplasty include:

  • Altered sensation
  • Hematomas (a swelling filled with blood)
  • Infection
  • Painful sex
  • Scarring
  • Adhesions (abnormal tissue that binds other tissue together)

Chronic vaginal dryness is another possible side effect of labiaplasty. Vaginal dryness can lead to an increased risk of bacterial or yeast infections, discomfort, and painful sex. If you are experiencing vaginal dryness after a labiaplasty, using the right lubricant can help sex feel more pleasurable.

Labiaplasty is generally contraindicated for women who suffer from active gynecological diseases, such as cancer or infection. As with many other surgical procedures, people who smoke are not the best candidates for labiaplasty because smoking affects body healing capacity.

This procedure can be done to correct a medical anomaly or for cosmetic reasons; however, most doctors agree that it isn’t necessary for aesthetic reasons alone.

Labiaplasty is a procedure that surgically alters the labia. It can be performed alone or in conjunction with other vaginal rejuvenation treatments. This procedure can be done to correct a medical anomaly or for cosmetic reasons; however, most doctors agree that it isn’t necessary for aesthetic reasons alone. For some, working on body acceptance is a viable alternative to labiaplasty. 



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