Labiaplasty: What You Should Know
As plastic surgery becomes more mainstream and socially acceptable, procedures such as labiaplasty or labioplasty (labia beautification and reduction) are gaining popularity. Women who have large or asymmetric labias or wish to change other aesthetic issues related to their genitalia may benefit from this procedure. In many cases, women are simply born with a large labia. In other cases, they may develop an enlarged labia as a result of childbirth or aging. Labiaplasty involves the surgical reduction of large or asymmetrical labias for aesthetic or medical reasons.
Are You a Candidate?
Ideal candidates are women are unhappy with the appearance of their labia or it protrudes too far causing a source of embarrassment with a sexual partner. Many women desire vaginal beautification in order to please their sexual partner and improve their own self-esteem. There are medical reasons for labiaplasty as well. In some cases, large labia may be a source of pain and discomfort. An excessively large or thick labia minora can cause chronic irritation when tight pants are worn or cause physical discomfort when engaging in sports or other physical activities. Good candidates for this procedure are adult women in good overall health. They are realistic about the effects of this surgery and do not feel pressured into labiaplasty by their partner.
The procedure is usually performed on an outpatient basis using local anesthesia. During surgery, the large or uneven vaginal lips are cut and then shortened using a combination of a scalpel, specialized scissors, or a laser. Women may also choose to have a hoodectomy performed at the same time, which exposes the clitoris for the purpose of increased stimulation during intercourse. The specific point where the incision is made is dependent upon factors such as the texture, size, and contours of the labia. Once the labia have been contoured according to the patient’s wishes, the incision are closed using dissolvable sutures.
Complications & Risks
Potential risks include temporary numbness, bleeding, infection, changes in pigmentation, asymmetrical results, and the build up of excess scar tissue. Because of these risks, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has expressed its opposition to cosmetic surgery procedures involving the vagina, arguing that the risks of this procedure outweigh its benefits. Despite the risks, labiaplasty is growing in popularity as such procedures become more socially acceptable.
The recovery process takes about a month, although most women are able to return to work within about a week. You will need to wear a pad for at least the first week after the procedure due to postsurgical bleeding. Women who undergo this procedure must abstain from intercourse for at least one month, as the genitals will be swollen and tender during this recovery period. The labia and the surrounding tissue may be slightly bruised as well. Other side effects include pain or discomfort that can be controlled with over-the-counter pain medications. Your surgeon may offer you a donut cushion to suit on in order to relieve discomfort and avoid placing pressure on the labia as they heal. Your doctor may also prescribe antibiotics to minimize the risk of infection. You will not be able to use tampons for at least ten days after surgery, and strenuous exercises should be avoided for three weeks after undergoing labiaplasty.
When it comes to the labiaplasty cost, the average surgeon’s fee is approximately $2,500. Other fees, such as the anesthesia and surgical facility expenses bring the total cost to around $3,200 to $3,700. The costs can vary based on the surgeon you select, the extent and complexity of the procedure, as well as other factors.