Many women complain that their labia have changed with age or due to childbirth or other issues. It is more of a universal concern than one might think. A labiaplasty is a relatively simple operation that can make a woman feel more confident.
What is Labiaplasty Surgery?
A labial reduction, also known as labiaplasty, is becoming increasingly popular among Denver area women. Women who have a problem with large labia and/or asymmetric labia can now have labia surgery to reduce the outward appearance of the labia and correct misshapenness or irregularities. Labiaplasty may be undertaken for functional reasons, cosmetic reasons, or a combination of the two.
Enlarged labia can cause women discomfort in tight clothes, discomfort when engaging in sports or other physical activities, pain during sexual intercourse, and increased risk for urinary tract or yeast infections, as well as self-consciousness. The procedure is frequently performed to reduce the size of one or both labia and represents a relatively safe solution to most medical issues.
Who is an ideal candidate for the Labiaplasty procedure?
Many women who are interested in correcting the cosmetic and physical concerns related to elongated labia can be good candidates for a reduction procedure. Some patients may be advised to avoid certain habits and medications for a few weeks so their body can heal optimally from their procedure.
For example, patients should not smoke for at least two weeks before any surgical procedure. Blood-thinning medications and supplements should also be avoided. That said, most potential obstacles to optimal labiaplasty surgery and recovery can be addressed with pre-surgical adjustments. Patients must also be able and willing to follow post-surgical instructions to reduce the risk of complications such as poor healing.
Some of the reasons that women seek labiaplasty include:
- Dissatisfaction with the shape or size of the external genitalia.
- Concerns related to physical discomfort during sexual intercourse.
- Inability to wear certain types of clothing, such as leggings or jeans, due to cosmetic or physical discomfort.
How to prepare for your Labiaplasty:
There is little that a patient must do to prepare for their labial reduction procedure. Some recommendations may vary, but they generally include:
- Stop smoking or avoid tobacco and nicotine for at least two weeks before the labiaplasty procedure.
- Avoid medications and supplements that thin the blood. If there are questions about which products apply, contact our office.
- Arrange to have a few days off work, at least.
- Arrange to have a loved one escort you to your procedure. You will not be able to drive for 24 hours or longer.
Revalla's Labiaplasty Technique
This outpatient surgery is usually performed under IV sedation in combination with local anesthesia in just over an hour. Denver’s board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Hunsicker uses a special technique to reduce uneven or enlarged labia minora to a more comfortable and appealing size and shape.
Dr. Hunsicker takes care to maintain the natural contour, pigmentation, and sensitivity of the labia minora with minimal scarring. In most cases, the labiaplasty surgery is virtually undetectable after complete healing, and patients are extremely pleased with their results.
How long does a Labiaplasty procedure take?
The two common techniques performed for labial reduction, trim and wedge labiaplasty, each take about an hour to complete. Patients may be at the office or surgical center for slightly longer. This provides time for the local anesthetic and sedation to take effect, and also for sedation to wear off to some degree before the patient is released to be driven home by a loved one.
How safe is a Labial Reduction?
Labiaplasty is considered safe and effective for qualified patients. The first step in this treatment protocol is to sit with the doctor and discuss concerns, treatment goals, and also medical history. Very few exceptions exist for labial reduction surgery, and the side effects of surgery are generally mild and temporary. The procedure is performed using a local anesthetic and conservative sedation, so the risks that are associated with general anesthesia are not relevant to labiaplasty.
While there are risks of infection and bleeding with any surgical procedure, even those that are conservative, patients can reduce these risks by following their post-surgical care instructions.
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It must be said that a woman’s genitalia are normal regardless of how they look. Labia come in all shapes and sizes. The reasons for wide variations from one woman to the next are primarily related to genetics and hormones. There is also a chance that the labia may elongate or change shape as a woman ages.
After surgery, you can expect some discomfort that can be alleviated with pain medication. Elevation and ice packs will help control the bleeding and swelling in the first few days. Dr. Hunsicker uses dissolvable stitches that will last 2 to 4 weeks. Expect some restrictions on physical activity for up to 6 weeks.
As with any surgical procedure, complications from labiaplasty, although rare, do exist. The specific risks, as well as suitability, for any given individual cannot be determined until the time of consultation. While we hope this information is helpful, it cannot substitute for a consultation.
The labiaplasty procedure precisely trim excess tissue so the external genitalia look and feel proportionate. Unlike other procedures that trim and tighten the skin, labiaplasty may resist the effect of the aging process quite well. Patients can expect to enjoy lasting results from their procedure, if not indefinite results.
Labiaplasty at Revalla Plastic Surgery costs between $5,000 to $6,000.
Unlike procedures such as abdominoplasty, the results of labiaplasty may not be significantly impacted by pregnancy and childbirth. While there are no guarantees that the labia will not enlarge to some extent due to these physical events, it is not unsafe for a woman to become pregnant or birth a child after having labial reduction surgery. If the size and shape of the labia are presenting frequent frustration or physical irritation, the benefits of the minor surgical procedure may far outweigh the risk of needing a subsequent reduction at a later date.
If you are considering the benefits of labial reduction, your best option for determining the ideal timing is to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon. We would be happy to meet with you to discuss your options further.