Frequently Asked Questions
Labiaplasty (Labia Rejuvenation)
Cosmetic surgery can be used to enhance appearance and self-esteem. But it can also be used to enhance function. For some women, having enlarged inner genital lips (labia minora) can be functionally or emotionally bothersome. Age, childbirth, hormones, and sexual intercourse can cause enlarged labia, or it can occur naturally. Local irritation and problems with personal hygiene can interfere with sexual intercourse and cause discomfort during other activities like cycling, walking or sitting. Labiaplasty is a cosmetic surgery procedure that offers women a solution.
Labiaplasty surgically reshapes or reduces the external appearance of the vagina. This is done to enhance a woman's vaginal appearance and sexual gratification.
With the increasing popularity of various cosmetic surgery procedures, including labiaplasty, it is important that the prospective patient research and understand different issues like what the procedure can and cannot treat, inherent risks, costs, and other factors. Keep in mind, cosmetic surgery is just that - a surgical procedure whose results cannot simply be erased.
While the information contained in this web site will provide you with a good introduction to labiaplasty, when considering this or any other cosmetic procedure, we recommend that you consult a qualified provider with significant experience. Some important elements you should understand regarding this procedure include the following:
Who is an Ideal Candidate for Labiaplasty?
There are various reasons why women would choose to undergo labiaplasty. The more common include:
Reducing pain during intercourse.
Gaining a boost in self-esteem.
Feeling more confident.
Reducing emotional and physical discomfort from having enlarged labia.
Enhancing sexual pleasure.
How is Labiaplasty Performed?
Labiaplasty usually takes about one to two hours while the patient is under local anesthesia. Sometimes, general anesthesia is used so ask your doctor first. Labiaplasty is generally performed on the inner lips (Labia Minora). The labia minora is the skin that covers the vaginal opening.
For labiaplasty of the inner lips, some surgeons reduce the excess tissue by removing a wedge-shaped section from the center and bringing together the top and bottom. This technique keeps the normal labial edge. The excess skin and/or fat is surgically removed.
Are there other techniques available?
Laser reduction labiaplasty is another option used to achieve an enhanced labia appearance. During this procedure, lasers are used to trim the labia minora (small inner lips.) The procedure takes less time but results in loss of the normal labia edges.
Augmentation Labiaplasty can also be used to enhance the labia majora. This involves harvesting fat from other areas of the body and reinjecting it into the labia, providing an enhanced and youthful appearance.
How Much Pain is Associated with Labiaplasty?
It is natural for women to feel mild to moderate discomfort and swelling after undergoing labiaplasty. The doctor should prescribe medication to help reduce pain. Most discomfort should subside within several days but mild discomfort can continue for several weeks. Most of the swelling is gone by six weeks.
What is the road to recovery like?
It is important for patients to follow their doctors' post-op orders following surgery. This will help ensure quality results and better healing as well as reduce discomfort and complications.
Instructions may include avoiding intercourse for several weeks (typically three to six weeks) following surgery. The doctors may recommend that women not to use tampons and/or douches while recovering.
Women usually return to work and normal activities within two to five days, while more strenuous activities will take about three weeks.
What are The Long-Term Effects of Labiaplasty?
The results of the labiaplasty are permanent. The labia can become mildly enlarged again over time, but this is uncommon.
What Are the Risks and Limitations of Labiaplasty?
All forms of cosmetic surgery carry some degree of risks and complications, including scarring and infection.
Risks associated with labiaplasty include changes in sensation, changes in pigmentation, or asymmetry. The risks for labiaplasty depend on the technique used. Change of sensation has not been reported with the wedge technique, but has been seen with amputation (trimming) techniques. Mild separation of the labial edge can occur with the wedge technique in five percent of cases but is easily corrected. The trimming technique changes pigmentation and texture of the labial edge. Asymmetry can occur with each technique.
The subject of potential risk and complications should be discussed between you and your surgeon. It is important that patients are aware of both the benefits and the risks, before undergoing labiaplasty
Hymenoplasty is a surgical procedure designed to repair and reconstruct the thin, ring-like skin membrane partially covering the opening of the vagina, known as the “hymen.” It is made of elastic and fibrous tissue. Bleeding occurs when the hymen tears, which is typically the result of a woman’s first experience with intercourse, so this type of surgery will pull the tissue back together to restore a “virgin-like” quality. On rare instances, a female can unknowingly tear her hymen by inserting a tampon, or during sports like bicycling, horseback riding, or even gymnastics. While the biological function of the hymen is still uncertain, its social function is popularly regarded as a mythical symbol in many cultures. Therefore, qualified plastic surgeons perform hymenoplasty at the request of women who need the surgery for ethnic, cultural, or religious reasons. Patients with the desire for higher sexual satisfaction may also be candidates for this procedure, because the vaginal walls are tightened.
Hymenoplasty generally takes about one to two hours, with patients able to return to work the next day. Restoration of the hymen is done on an outpatient basis, under local anesthesia or sedation. Prior to surgery, patients are required to have a pre-surgical consultation and thorough gynecological examination. During this time, she should communicate her needs and expectations to the doctor, and in turn, will learn of the possible risks and benefits to hymenoplasty.
Vaginoplasty is a surgical procedure designed to rejuvenate and tighten a woman’s vagina, by removing excess lining and repairing the surrounding soft tissues. Women who generally qualify for this procedure may have completed childbearing and are unhappy with the resulting lack of vaginal strength and tone, or have not had children but still desire improvement. Vaginoplasty is designed to decrease the diameter of the vagina, resulting in increased friction during intercourse, making the experience more pleasurable for both partners. Labiaplasty, a surgical procedure to beautify the outer appearance of the vagina by reducing the size and/or reshape the labia minor (“lips”), may be combined with vaginoplasty for total rejuvenation. When performed on transgendered women, this procedure is also known as a “sex change operation,” or “gender reassignment surgery (GRS).”
Vaginoplasty is occasionally performed to revise abnormalities, and certain congenital conditions, such as absence of a vagina at birth. It can also be performed to repair the vaginal area following disease or injury. Overall, this procedure can help to provide greater self-esteem and confidence in your appearance.