Many women are very conscious of the appearance of their vagina. Fluctuations in weight, growing older, hereditary and childbirth can result in enlarged or exposed labia minora which causes much stress about the appearance of the inner and outer lips of the vagina. If you are overtly conscious of your labia minora/majora and you wish to reshape or resize your labia, a labioplasty (or labiaplasty) may be right for you.
A labioplasty will:
- Reduce excess skin from your labia minor and/or majora.
- Reshapes your vagina for a more proportionate appearance
What is a labioplasty?
A Labioplasty is a surgical procedure that reshapes or reduces the appearance of the labia minora and/or labia majora. In some instances, women with large labia can experience pain during intercourse, or feel discomfort during everyday activities or when wearing tight-fitting clothing. Others may feel unattractive, or wish to enhance their sexual experiences by removing some of the skin that covers the clitoris. A Labioplasty will enhance both the appearance and the comfort and confidence of the patient.
Labia Minora (inner lips) Reduction – The protruding appearance of the labia minora may cause embarrassment for the patient with a sexual partner. Enlarged labia minora may also result in constant irritation in tight pants, bathing suits and athletic wear.
Labia Majora (outer lips) Reduction – Large labia majora can be a common normal anatomical variation which may be a result of childbirth or by weight gain or loss. Discomfort may result from chapping and also during sexual intercourse. They can be improved with surgical reduction if necessary.
Is it right for you?
Suitable candidates for labia rejuvenation surgery include women who:
- Experience problems with sexual intercourse or have labia pain
- Are uncomfortable when sitting, cycling or walking due to enlarged labia
- Would like to improve the appearance of their labia
- Experience emotional discomfort and self esteem issues due to the appearance of their labia
- Have been born with large, asymmetrical or protruding labia
- Are not planning to have any more children
- Have realistic expectations for the outcome of their labioplasty
Unsuitable candidates for labioplasty surgery include women who:
- Are pregnant or menstruating
- Have episiotomy complications
- Have a yeast infection or herpes virus
- Have bladder incontinence
- Have a prolapsed uterus
Procedural Steps - What happens during a labioplasty?
Dr Vrtik only performs labioplasty under a full general anaesthesia for your comfort and safety.
Incision length and pattern depend on the amount and location of excess skin to be removed. Often, these will be just on the outside of the labia, scarring is often minimal once healed.
Closing the Incisions Once excess labia is removed, your incisions will be closed with absorbable sutures.
Specific Risks of Labioplasty
The decision to have labioplasty is extremely personal and you’ll have to decide if the benefits will achieve your goals and if the risks and potential complications are acceptable. Be sure to discuss any questions or concerns you may have about labioplasty surgery risks with Dr Vrtik. You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure you will undergo and any risks and potential complications.
Possible risks of Labiaplasty include:
- Asymmetry of the labia
- Pigmentation changes
- Changes in sensation
- Changes in texture or pigment of the labial edge
- Separation of the labial edge
Most of the risks are very uncommon, and some people (with particular health problems), may be at higher risk for specific complications. Dr Vrtik will discuss this with you during your consultation if any of these risks are specifically pertinent to you.
Although labioplasty surgery can be an effective procedure where the benefits significantly outweigh the risks, like everything in the practice of medicine and surgery, it is not an exact science. The degree of surgical success can be altered by how each individual’s body responds to surgery and healing. Although good results are expected, there is no guarantee. In some situations, it may not be possible to achieve optimal results with a single surgical procedure; revision surgery may be necessary.
Be sure to ask questions: It’s very important to ask questions about your procedure. It’s natural to feel some anxiety, whether it’s excitement for your anticipated new look or a bit of preoperative stress. Don’t be shy about discussing these feelings and any specific concerns with Dr Vrtik or any of our staff members.
Mild to moderate discomfort and swelling will often be experienced by women after undergoing labioplasty. If your labioplasty is performed on a Day Surgery basis, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you to and from surgery and to stay with you for at least the first night following surgery.
Take any pain medications that your doctor prescribes. Discomfort should subside within several days but mild discomfort can continue for several weeks. You may need to wear supportive undergarments to help reduce swelling, which should subside within six weeks. For the first few weeks, a sanitary pad may be necessary to help with any oozing. Depending on the type of sutures used and their location, they should dissolve within seven to 21 days.
You may be advised to avoid intercourse for three to six weeks following labioplasty surgery, and may also be told to avoid using tampons and vaginal douches during your recovery period. Labioplasty patients should be able to return to work and normal activities within two to five days, and more strenuous activities within two to three weeks.
To find out more about postoperative care, please click here.
Results and Expectations
The results of your labioplasty will be long-lasting, provided that you maintain a stable weight and general fitness. As your body ages, it is natural to lose some firmness, but most of your improvement should be relatively permanent.
How much will a labioplasty surgery cost?
If your symptoms and condition meet the criteria for a medicare item number, Private Health Insurance may cover some of your costs for labioplasty. Dr Vrtik will be able to assess your eligibility at the time of consultation. It is important to check if your policy covers plastic surgery and any hospitalisation costs.