Labiaplasty is a small but very powerful and significant vaginal rejuvenation surgery. It takes about one hour to fix the labia, also called lips of the vagina, and can be performed under a local anesthetic. Many women are concerned about the appearance of their vagina especially after childbirth. Due to exertion of force to expel the child combined with all the associated stretching of the skin and soft-tissue in the vaginal area, the labia majora and/or labia minora commonly experience damage. They can become loose, distorted and lose their original appearance.
It is also common for labia to overhang with excessive skin and droop or sag. This can happen irregardless of a history of childbirth or pregnancy. These conditions can create sense of self-consciousness and anxiety in women. It often causes loss of sexual interest from their partners and they subsequently don’t find confidence in themselves as well.
Moreover, sometimes labia minora overgrows causing pain and discomfort. It becomes difficult to wear certain types of clothing. Doing routine chores and feeling beautiful in intimate and public setting becomes a fantasy. For many women, a labiaplasty offers the opportunity of a permanent solution to these concerns.
In labiaplasty surgery, dissolvable sutures are utilized and typically dissolve in two to four weeks time. Labial tissue is one of the most forgiving in terms of scar formation. Labiaplasties thus typically create near unnoticeable scars once healing is complete. Healing, in general, will take about 4 months to be fully mature. Lastly, the Labia majora skin is textured therefore the scar blends well into it leaving near imperceptible scars.
What is the difference between Labiaplasty and Vaginoplasty?
As we discussed, vaginoplasty is an aesthetic surgical procedure which tightens the vaginal canal. This procedure results in a tight and remodeled vagina, closely resembling, and often times improved over the pre-pregnancy state.
The vaginoplasty procedure: First, the excessive skin and mucosal tissue are carefully excised. Next the underlying vaginal musculature is tightened, with the final step being to close the skin and mucosal tissue in anatomic layers, creating a more youthful and taut vaginal canal. The vaginoplasty procedure is most often requested by women who find their vagina to be loose and slack after delivering a child, although child birth is not necessarily a prerequisite to be a candidate for vaginoplasty surgery.
Labiaplasty is another aesthetic surgical procedure in which the labial minora shape and contour are improved and made to resemble a more youthful state. There are two sets of labia, casually called lips, which surround the vagina. The inner set of labia is small while the other set of labia is bigger hence called labia minora and labia majora respectively. Sometimes the inner labia outgrow outer the labia, or are asymmetric from one side to the other; therefore, women may opt for a labiaplasty. Additionally, the labia majora can become lax with childbirth. The labia majora is typically addressed and tightened at the same time as the labiaplasty is performed. The usual treatment for a lax labia majora is radio frequency skin and soft-tissue tightening and remodeling with Morpheus8
In easy words, both vaginoplasty and labiaplasty are vaginal rejuvenation procedures. In vaginoplasty only tightening of the vaginal canal is concerned whereas in labiaplasty the size and symmetry of labia are concerned. In general, both procedures are conducted together and may be performed either awake, or under a general anesthetic.
Recovery from Labiaplasty
As you recover from labiaplasty you may experience swelling and itching around the labia. For 2-3 days after surgery, swelling is at its peak. Swelling, in general, will be mostly gone by the two week mark. Cold compresses during the first 72 hours are used to manage swelling. Itching is a common finding after surgery and is a sign of healing. Itching is most common In the first week after surgery. Witch Hazel cooling pads, such as Tucks, minimize itching and discomfort during the early healing period. If the itching and swelling do not largely subside after the first post-operative week, contact your surgeon. Itching for more than one week may indicate a yeast or bacterial infection which requires prompt medical attention. In ideal circumstances, 1 week after labiaplasty, swelling and itching subside leaving a well healed labia. To accelerate the healing process restricted activity is recommended and heavy exercise and running is generally discouraged for a period of 4 weeks. Most women return to their routine lifestyle after 2-4 weeks of surgery. Lastly, It is necessary to let the scars heal completely before returning to sexual intercourse. This usually takes 6-8 weeks and will also be dependent on patient tolerance.
Scarring after labiaplasty
Whenever there is an incision made on the skin of body, a scar is formed. The skin cannot heal without producing a scar. The good news is that labial tissue tends to be very forgiving in terms of scar formation. Labiaplasty scars tend to blend into the tissue very well and become nearly unnoticeable. The shape and thickness of scar will largely depend upon the technique adopted for the surgery. The texture and natural appearance of labia minora has folds and wrinkles, which allows for excellent blending of scars once healed. Once the sutures are dissolved and scars are formed the tissue tends to be firmer and stiff for a few months. This normalizes by 4 months in most cases.
The V-wedge Labiaplasty Technique
In this technique, a wedge-shaped triangular area is excised from outer labia minora.. Next, the un-excised edges are re-approximated to create a new, refreshed labia minora contour. This procedure creates a oblique scar on the treated outer labia minora.
The Wedge Labiaplasty Technique
In this technique, a wedge-shaped triangular area is excised from the inner labia minora. The sides are re-approximated. This technique leaves a small horizontal scar on the inner labia minora tissue.
The Edge Labiaplasty Technique
In this technique, the discolored and hanging part of the labia minora is excised. This technique creates a scar on the outer edge of the labia minora. These scars tend to heal exceedingly well and are near imperceptible over time.