Labiaplasty – Labia reduction surgery, Vaginoplasty

Author: MUDr. David Štěpán

A labiaplasty will assist women whose vagina has large outer lips. This can cause a variety of problems including rubbing and pain during walking or sport activities and an inability to wear certain items of clothing. Occasionally the lips are large enough to be visible through a swimsuit or they can present an obstacle during sex. Some women are embarrassed by this condition and wish to have labia reduction surgery to improve the situation. Here, Dr. Stepan will explain more about the procedure and answer some initial questions about labiaplasty.

Although it is possible to make an appointment for this procedure by phone without any previous consultations, I do not recommend it. The first step towards making the decision if labiaplasty is right for you is to make an appointment for a check-up. You want to consult with the doctor that would be eventually performing the surgery. It is usual and recommended for the client to consult with a few doctors and make her appointment with the one she feels most confident in and comfortable with. To see if a list of experienced labiaplasty surgeons abroad, please click here.

Labiaplasty is usually performed under local anesthesia. If a woman is fit and isn't undergoing any medical treatment, a pre-surgical examination is not necessary.

The main part of the surgery is the removal of the excessive part of the labia. The treatment is usually performed under local anesthesia and with the patient in a reclined position. Labiaplasty under general anesthesia is also possible. In this case, an internal pre-surgical check-up is needed and the treatment is more expensive. The extension of the amount to be removed is drawn on the skin (the doctor and patient may agree upon it), the labia is then locally anesthetized. This part of the surgery is painful but lasts only 20 seconds. The extra skin is removed, the bleeding is stemmed and the suturing of mucosa is made either with absorbable sutures that are not taken out or with classical sutures.

Healing after the surgery might be complicated with light bleeding, but it usually doesn’t require medical treatment; it is solved the same way as with bleeding during menstruation. The labias are usually very swollen and moderately painful. Because of the swelling, the look of the vaginal opening is changed. The labia look completely different but this look is not the final result. The swelling and pain will fade in approximately one week to ten days. After the surgery some women also report having problems while sitting.

Since the surgery is in an area that is difficult to keep sterile, post-surgery healing is often complicated with infections and a breakdown of the wound edges. With labiaplasty, minor complications in wound healing with no extra treatment is usual. It is possible to avoid the danger of significant complications of wound healing by ensuring you receive the best possible treatment and care. Even slight complications are manifested by pain in the area of vaginal opening.

Post-surgical treatment is simple and done by the patient herself. The most important is increased hygiene; showering with the use of soap or shampoo and at least twice a day washing with a disinfecting solution that your doctor will give you. Right after surgery, put sterile gauze into the underwear; later, sanitary pads are sufficient.

Check-ups after the surgery for patients who are progressing normally and have absorbable sutures are not necessary, although it is better to see your doctor a week after labiaplasty and again after 14 days. A check-up after 3 months is also appropriate to evaluate the final result. One warning for patients who are inclined to keloid and hypertrophic scars: there is a danger of the possibility of rigid scars as a later complication. This risk is lower than 1% and the area can be treated with care for such scars. More information about labiaplasty abroad can be found here.

Updated: 2007-11-24

MUDr. David Štěpán

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