Labiaplasty and vaginal rejuvenation is a term often used by plastic surgeons and some women. It is important to understand this term and all that it entails so we can make good and informed decision. A labiaplasty is a type of Vaginal rejuvenation. ‘Vaginal rejuvenation’ is a term used to describe procedures that typically include energy devices like lasers, radiofrequency and ultrasound to accomplish various outcomes such as vaginal tightening, decreasing incontinence and eliminating vaginal dryness.
What is Labiaplasty?
To understand what a labiaplasty is, a revision of the anatomy of the female genital area is important. The labia (lips) are folds of skin around the vaginal opening. The labia majora (outer lips) are usually fleshy and covered with pubic hair. The labia minora (inner lips) are inside the outer lips. They begin at the clitoris and end under the opening to the vagina. The labia can be short or long, wrinkled or smooth. Often one lip is longer than the other. They also vary in color from pink to brownish black. The color, size, consistency, and texture of the labia can change with age, especially among women who have had babies. Most cases of women with enlarged minora were born with it, although childbirth, use of hormones, and increasing age can also contribute to this.
The labiaplasty procedure aims to decrease the size of the labia minora (inner tissues of the female genitalia) so that it is flush with the labia majora (outer part of the female genitalia). This procedure involves utilizing several different surgical techniques depending on the patient’s specific situation. There are no energy devices required with a labiaplasty, and you will work with your plastic surgeon to determine the goals of your surgery. The main difference between a labiaplasty and another treatment under the “vaginal rejuvenation” umbrella is a labiaplasty is a surgical procedure.
Why do women seek labiaplasty?
Most women who seek this surgery do so for aesthetic reasons (not liking how it looks and to feel more sexy), to relieve functional impairment like pain and discomfort during sex associated with a protruding labia minora, and sometimes for both reasons combined. women with enlarged labia minora, majora, or with significant clitoral hooding can also complain of irritation and discomfort with exercise, sexual intercourse, and wearing tight clothing. Massively enlarged labia can interfere with sexual intercourse, hygiene, and self-catheterization.
The free circulation of pornographic materials and ideals of body and genital image has led to an increased awareness and to a significant demand for labiaplasty. According to the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons 2017 Statistics, request for labiaplasty has increased by 217.2% from 2012 to 2017.
What to do before a labiaplasty
When you have decided you want a labiaplasty, you would need to visit a plastic or Aesthetic surgeon. Your surgeon will interview you to know if the procedure would be of any help to you, if you have a body dysmorphic disorder which is an illness where you continually have issues with your body, or have unrealistic expectations like expecting the procedure to enhance your sexual lives and improve your ability to achieve orgasm; this procedure may not be of much help to you.
In the office, your surgeon will examine you on the couch with your legs spread wide apart so your vagina can easily be visualized. With the help of a mirror, you can tell them your concerns and both of you will arrive at a common goal of how you want it to look. Usually, your surgeon will take takes of the area and show you other pictures of different vaginas so you can choose what you want and there will be no misunderstanding or miscommunication of expectations between you.
The procedure is usually a day case or outpatient surgery which does not last long so you are not expected to be admitted, although in some cases which may require longer surgery time, the surgeon may decide to put you to sleep for this surgery. Fortunately, it is not risky and does not compromise vaginal sensation in any way.
What to do after labiaplasty
Because the genital area is a sensitive place and prone to infections easily, there are some very strict instructions which your surgeon will discuss with you even before the surgery on how to care for the area. Please do not proceed if you cannot keep to the instructions as it can cause a breakdown of the wound and more complications. You will be told to:
Avoid long showers
Pat the wound dry every time after washing.
Do not wipe from back to front after defecating
Ensure you take the antibiotics and painkillers prescribed for pain and inflammation.
Do not engage in activities like riding bikes, running and other physical activities until your surgeon says so.
Do not wear tight clothes or undergarments as they cause friction against the wound.
Do not have sex for at least four weeks after the procedure.
Complications of labioplasty
The complications of the procedure are not many, however, like any surgical procedure there are still risks. If a general anesthesia is used, the person may feel drowsy, nauseous, or take a little time to wake up.
There is also the risk of forming a blood clot in the veins (DVT) during the procedure.
Significant bleeding is not common both during and after the procedure.
You may also feel bruised and swollen down there after.
The most common complications following labiaplasty are breakdown of the wound mostly due to infection, hematoma (blood collection) in the site, and unsatisfactory scarring which usually depends on how you heal as different people heal with different amount of scars which may affect the appearance of the area.
Life after labiaplasty
If the procedure is done by a good surgeon with proper post-operative care, the outcome is usually very favorable. Most studies on labioplasty suggest that the procedure is associated with a high level of satisfaction among the women. In a study of 163 patients, Rouzier et al reported satisfaction rates among the women of 89% and 93% in terms of aesthetic and functional outcomes, respectively. Similar high levels of patient satisfaction was also reported by another study with over 95% of patients being satisfied with aesthetic results and no instances of disappointment or regret with the procedure. In yet another study among women who had had the procedure, 98% would elect to undergo the surgery again and 95% rated their “happiness” with the surgery as an eight or higher (out of 10). Women report an improvement in their self-esteem and confidence during sex after this procedure.
So if you want to do a labiaplasty, do well to book an appointment with a good and reliable plastic or aesthetic surgeon to achieve good results.