You’ve been looking forward to your mother’s group weekend away for weeks. Three days and two nights with the five women who have been with you at every stage of your children’s lives. Together you’ve shared the ups and downs of motherhood. From being up all night with a sleepless baby, to introducing solids and choosing the right school.
It was your turn to organise the weekend and you chose your favourite beach side village. The horseback riding tour has been booked – leisurely rides through the hinterland as you visit three of the best wineries in the region. And then? Spa and massage treatments at the local wellness centre.
After dinner your friends eagerly ask what’s on the agenda for tomorrow. Excitedly you tell them about the horseback riding, the wellness centre and the gourmet restaurant dinner. But as you’re doing so, you notice two of your friends are no longer smiling. They look awkwardly at each other and lean in closer, “Um, sorry but we’re going to have to miss out on the horseback riding part of tomorrow…we’ll catch up at the wellness centre…”
You don’t want to pressure them, but really want to know why they can’t go horseback riding! After all, they both love tasting and drinking wine. But their responses had nothing to do with not liking horseback riding. They told you something personal that they’d both been embarrassed about for years.
Your friends revealed that after pregnancy and vaginal births, their labia rubbed and chafed uncomfortably if they had intercourse, rode a bike or a horse. Sometimes their labia became so uncomfortable they couldn’t wear tight pants.
And as the conversation deepened, you found out something else about your other friend. One of them had undergone a labiaplasty procedure a year ago – and it changed her life!
What is a labiaplasty procedure?
Labiaplasty is a surgical procedure where skin is removed from the outer folds of the female labia. It is designed to reshape the inner vagina lips (labia minora) or the outer vagina lips (labia majora).
Labiaplasty is also known as designer vaginal surgery, genital enhancement procedure, labia reduction surgery, labia minora surgery and labia majora surgery.
Why do women get labiaplasty surgery?
Women who have labiaplasty surgery get many aesthetic and functional benefits. Labia minora vary in size and shape between women. Women can have small labia minora that are completely hidden between the labia majora. Large labia minora that protrude, chafe and become painful can be reduced for functional reasons. For some women, protruding labia minora is seen as unsightly.
Labia minora aren’t always symmetrical and one can be larger than the other. Vaginal births and pregnancies can also change the shape and size of the labia minora.
Labiaplasty is a cosmetic procedure and doesn’t convey health benefits or heighten sexual pleasure. However, many women who have this procedure do report improved comfort and increased sexual confidence. In most cases there is not a medical indication for labiaplasty, so the procedure is not subsidized under Medicare.
What is the labiaplasty operation like?
Under a general anaesthetic labiaplasty, excess labia tissue is removed. The wound is then carefully stitched with dissolving sutures. Most labiaplasty operations are completed in 1-2 hours. After a brief observation period, patients can usually go home.
Most women report they feel uncomfortable for 2 or 3 days after their labiaplasty surgery. After this, they can usually return to work.
You will need to take antibiotics to reduce the chances of infection in the vaginal area. To absorb the excess secretions and fluid, a sanitary pad will also need to be worn.
It’s very important to choose the right Labiaplasty Surgeon. Removing too much labia minora and exposing the clitoris will result in pain and tenderness during intercourse. Read more details about labiaplasty surgery here.
Are there different types of labiaplasty procedures?
The two main surgical techniques used in Labiaplasty surgery include the wedge method and the trim method.
- To decrease the bulk of the labia minora, this method removes a wedge-shaped portion of the unwanted labium.
- This method of removing labial tissue will not affect any of the functioning areas of the vagina.
- The trim method is sometimes referred to as the strip method where the surgeon removes the excess labial skin along the length of the labia minora. It is the most common method for reducing the length of the labia.
- This method is a good choice for patients who want to remove any darker or longer edges of the labia. It is less likely to cause complications.
Must know facts about labiaplasty
- Labiaplasty will not make your vagina smaller. Some laser procedures and vaginoplasty can assist with this.
- You will have swelling and discomfort after the operation. While you’ll be able to see changes straight away, it may take weeks (or months) for all the swelling to resolve.
- Depending on the size of the procedure, it is best to take one week off work after the surgery.
- You will not need to have the sutures removed – dissolving sutures are used.
What risks should I be aware of with my labiaplasty operation?
Risks and complications of labiaplasty surgery include:
- A loss of skin sensation in the labia. This may not totally resolve after the labiaplasty surgery.
- You may have an altered appearance at the edge of the labia. Visible skin wrinkling can also occur.
- Your scars may be a different colour – some patients find this unattractive and get additional treatments including surgery.
- You may be disappointed with the results of the labiaplasty procedure. Sometimes patients choose to have additional surgery to improve the results.
Questions to ask your Labiaplasty Surgeon
You can find the best Labiaplasty Surgeons in Australia here. Once you have a short list of surgeons; it’s a good idea to have multiple consultations before you select one.
At your consultation with the surgeon, consider asking these questions:
- What is the surgeon’s particular technique? (Labiaplasty has various surgical variations)
- What are the possible complications, risks and side effects of the procedure and how these will be managed by your surgeon?
- What are the levels of post-operative pain and how this pain can be treated?
- What experience has the surgeon got in performing Female Genital Surgery?
- How much time will be needed for recovery post-surgery?
I want to get labiaplasty surgery. What’s the recovery like?
While most labiaplasty surgery is done as a day procedure, some patients choose to stay overnight in hospital. During the first few days, using a labial cool pack will reduce swelling. You will need to take pain relief medications.
Your initial scar should heal within 1 week and you will see the surgeon for review 1-2 weeks post-operatively. The dissolvable stiches will fall out between 1 and 4 weeks. Your swelling will be present for up to six weeks. It is only then that the final cosmetic outcome will be judged.