The function and form of the different parts of the vagina are closely linked to the female psyche and the perception of self in terms of attractiveness. Oversized, elongated or asymmetrical labia minora – the inner vaginal lips that surround the entrance to the vagina – can cause irritation, discomfort and even embarrassment when wearing certain clothes or engaging in such activities as cycling and horse riding, or during sex. It can also impact on a woman’s intimate relationships as she may feel self-conscious. Labioplasty can address these issues.
What it is:
Labioplasty is a 1-2-hour surgical procedure that alters the size of the labia folds around the vagina. It’s most commonly performed for labial reduction, but can also be performed for labial augmentation. Reduction is usually, though not exclusively, carried out on the labia minora. Labial augmentation is commonly used on the labia majora, the ‘outer lips’ on either side of the labia minora.
To avoid any clitoral injury and ensure an aesthetically pleasing result, surgery usually takes place under general anaesthetic. Labioplasty is typically scheduled as a one-day procedure and patients usually require pain relief for around 3-7 days after surgery. Bruising may result.
Downtime and recovery:
After surgery, you should anticipate to be off work for a minimum 3-4 days to allow tissues to heal properly. You should wear loose, comfortable clothing during this time to reduce discomfort and swelling. Sexual or sporting activities can be resumed after 2-3 weeks, but it is important to discuss this with your surgeon. Scarring after the surgery is usually minimal. The scars are fine and typically hidden well within the natural skin creases. Some patients may find that sexual sensations are improved as excess skin no longer interferes.
The main risk of labioplasty is wound infection. To assist healing, cleanse with water, avoid astringents and dry by dabbing rather than rubbing. It is best to use an inflatable donut cushion to make sitting more comfortable during recovery. Collection of blood (haematoma), scarring and asymmetry are also risks.
How long does it last?
The results are permanent and should not affect pregnancy or childbirth.