A labiaplasty is a surgical procedure designed to alter the shape and/or size of the labia. This usually entails a reduction of the labia minora (inner lips), but can also include alterations to the labia majora (outer lips). Labiaplasty procedures are usually performed to alleviate some of the following symptoms and concerns:
- Pain on sitting, or during sexual intercourse
- Difficulty wearing certain clothes as the labia protrude
- Improve the shape due to significant asymmetry
Many women live with significant discomfort due to large labia and adopt strategies to alleviate this issue. However, women are now becoming aware of the possibility of having this chronic discomfort alleviated through surgery.
Some women have naturally large labia but labial elongation can occur with age, pregnancy and childbirth.
Successfully reducing and reshaping the labia starts with being in good health before the procedure. Being in shape before the procedure ensures the best results and a quicker recovery. The results that you wish to achieve will be discussed during your consultation. This will allow Dr Perron to know how much tissue should be removed during surgery.
Labiaplasty surgery is performed under a general anaesthetic and usually takes about an hour. It is a simple procedure that involves the removal of excess tissue from the labia minora or majora.
Patients are generally comfortable enough to go home after the procedure. Normally, women will be fit for discharge about four hours after the procedure but there should be someone present to drive you home. Local anaesthetic is used during the procedure to ensure comfort when you wake up. Dressings will need to remain in place until you are seen post-operatively. You will have a garment that will need to be worn for several weeks after your procedure as this will help with swelling and recovery.
Recovery from a labiaplasty can take a few weeks. Some pain is common, but subsides with a few days. It usually takes a week before you’ll be able to return to work and another week before you can consider low impact gym exercises.
There is always swelling that takes place and this can take several days to subside before it’s comfortable. Some bruising can also occur, but this also subsides after a few days. Using a cool pad can increase comfort during recovery. There may also be some light bleeding. It’s important to refrain from sexual activity for several weeks until your wounds have healed, swelling subsides and pain is no longer present.
Specific post-operative instructions will be provided to assist with your healing during the recovery phase.
As with any operative procedure, there are risks involved. The most common complications are minor bleeding, infection, wound healing problems, and some pain. The specific risks with labiaplasty include the following:
- Change in sensation
- Loss of tissue
- Raised or lumpy scars
Not everyone is a good candidate for a labiaplasty. Dr Perron can discuss your specific circumstances and expectations, and help decide what is best for you.
A lot of women choose to undergo this surgery because their labial folds are causing discomfort during intercourse or exercise. This is mainly due to friction caused by the larger tissue folds. Women may also choose a labiaplasty because they are self-conscious and want to improve their appearance in this area.
Before a labiaplasty, the area should be cleaned with water. It is also necessary to remove any pubic hair prior to the procedure. Dr Perron will also discuss stopping certain medications that may interfere with the procedure. It is also recommended that patients stop smoking six weeks before and after their surgery.
This will depend on the incision method that’s used by Dr Perron. However, he will always try his best to make sure that any scarring is hidden and discreet. Scarring will fade after a few months anyway though.
There is some recovery time required after surgery. You may also experience some discomfort but Dr Perron will provide you with pain medication recommendations, which will provide some relief. He will also advise you to wear a special garment and explain how to take care of the area. It is also normally recommended that you take some time off work as this will make the recovery process more comfortable. Light activities will be possible in the first few days after your surgery. Patients may find sitting on a hard chair or flat surface uncomfortable during recovery. You should be able to drive after a week. Sexual activity should be avoided for approximately six weeks to allow the area to heal properly.
Patients should be able to go to the toilet without any problems after surgery. But it is recommended that you wash the area with water and pat it dry after using the toilet. Occasionally, an ointment will need to be used as a barrier, which will be discussed by Dr Perron.
The swelling can take about six weeks to fade completely, which is when you’ll be able to see the results of your labiaplasty.
Yes, the results of your surgery will be permanent. However, childbirth post-surgery can cause the tissue to stretch, which means a second labiaplasty may be required to achieve the same results.
Under certain circumstances, labiaplasty may qualify for a Medicare or private health insurance rebate. An accurate cost for this procedure can only be determined following a consultation with Dr Perron but the average cost starts at about $3,000. Along with surgical costs, hospital and anaesthetist fees will also play a role in the final price. Dr Perron will be able to guide you on how you can apply to have some of the costs covered by your insurer. In most instances, however, a GP referral will be required, so this is something you may want to do prior to your consultation.