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Labiaplasty

What is labiaplasty?

Labiaplasty is a surgical procedure most commonly done to reshape the labia minora of the vulva, although it can include the reduction of the outer labia.The procedure has grown significantly in popularity, and while some women choose this procedure for cosmetic reasons, many have it for practical reasons. Cosmetically, the procedure is done to reduce the labia minora so that they no longer extend beyond the labia majora, or to correct asymmetry, but it is also commonly performed to reduce the physical discomfort caused by the tugging, twisting or protruding of labia minora from underwear and swimsuits.

WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT?

Labiaplasty has a very high success and satisfaction rate. The surgery usually results in shorter labia that no longer extend below the labia majora. If you experience discomfort from twisting and tugging, the surgery can correct this. If you choose the procedure for aesthetic reasons, you’re likely to be satisfied with the reduced length of your labia, or the improved symmetry.

SOME FREQUENTLY
ASKED QUESTIONS

How do I plan for my surgery?
Your initial consultation with your surgeon will be the first step. At this stage, you and your surgeon will discuss your expectations, so that you have a good understanding of what can be achieved and what your realistic expectations should be.

Your surgeon will examine your labia and discuss with you the various surgical options, explaining the different techniques so you’re fully informed before you make the decision to go ahead. Do not be shy to ask questions or express any anxiety at this stage or at any stage during the process.

What is the procedure for a labiaplasty?
In this procedure, the excess tissue is trimmed, which results in the reduced or shortened labia minora sitting within the labia majora – the outer lips of the vulva.

Most surgeons use the trim procedure, which involves removing extra tissue from the edge of the labia minora and then using dissolvable sutures to close the raw edges. Another surgical option is the wedge procedure, which involves the removal of pie-shaped piece of tissue, maintaining the natural border of the labia.

The clitoral hood can also be reduced in the same procedure. Once the procedure is complete, the incisions are closed with dissolving sutures.

How should I prepare for the surgery?

It is always advisable to stop smoking for 2 – 4 weeks prior to any surgery, and this applies to labiaplasty as well. Nicotine retards the healing process, and quitting for as long as possible before surgery helps improve blood flow.

You will also have to have a blood test before surgery is performed.

You should stop taking certain medication, like aspirin and some anti-inflammatory drugs, in the days prior to your surgery. Avoid recreational drugs, and disclose to your surgeon any other medication you’re taking, since you may need to adjust these.

Make sure that you have someone to drive you – especially when leaving the clinic, since you will not be able to drive while taking post-operative pain medication or sedatives.

Where will my labiaplasty be performed?
The procedure will be performed in one of our fully equipped operating theatres.
How do I recover from my surgery?
Most women take a week off from work after the surgery. During this time you can help reduce swelling and pain by placing a cold pack between your underwear and an elastic garment, 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off. Lying with your pelvis elevated will also help reduce the swelling.
What can I expect after my surgery?

After a labiaplasty, recovery is usually fairly rapid, although you will have some pain and swelling, which is normal. This will be relieved with pain medication, but you may find you only need it for a few days.

A warm sitz bath, which submerges the pelvic area in warm water or a saline solution, can also help to ease the discomfort. You should wear loose clothing initially, with a mini-pad to absorb minor bleeding.

When can I return to normal activities?
You should rest for about a week while you are healing. Wait four to six weeks before using tampons or having intercourse. If you’ve had a trim labiaplasty, your recovery may be quicker.

Most of the swelling should last up to six weeks, with residual swelling disappearing after a few months.

What are the risks involved in labiaplasty?

With this procedure, like all other surgery, there is a (low) risk of post-operative infection, bleeding, swelling, or an adverse reaction to anaesthesia. 

Some of the risks specific to labiaplasty include over-resection – the removal of too much tissue, which can cause dryness and painful intercourse. Healing problems can also occur with the wedge procedure.

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