Labiaplasty, also known as labial reduction, is an intimate type of surgery. More and more women wish to remodel the aspects of their genitals for reasons such as age or pregnancies that have changed their natural shape, thus creating a psychological issue.
Why undergo this surgery?
The most requested labiaplasty is labia minora reduction - this choice is for aesthetic or functional reasons – or the increase of the labia majora and clitoris reduction. Inner labia with a large volume or excessively protruding may create embarrassment and even difficulty during sexual intercourse. They may rub against clothes, thus causing irritation and pain. In these cases, labiaplasty allows to remove the excessive tissue, improve the symmetry of the inner labia, reduce their length and improve the quality of life even in terms of sexual intercourse. In other cases, the outer labia may appear flat and without tone. This is a natural consequence of aging that can be solved through a surgery aimed at increasing the volume via autologous fat grafting.
What needs to be done before surgery?
Personal care is important before labiaplasty in order to avoid infections that are contraindicated at the moment of surgery. Therefore, gynecological wash and intimate hair removal are advised. It could be necessary to suspend some drugs – such as aspirin – and stop smoking some time before surgery. This surgery is contraindicated when near menstruation.
How is the surgery performed?
Labiaplasty is generally a day surgery under local anaesthesia that may be associated with sedation. Reduction surgery can be made in different ways: - via direct resection in which the excessive tissue is surgically removed. At the same time, it is possible to remodel the clitoris contour. - via central half lap resection that allows preservation of the natural folds of the inner labia and hides the scar. To increase dimensions, it is possible to use a hyaluronic acid filler - that is generally injected without anaesthesia; or autologous fat grafting, i.e. fat taken from other parts of the patient’s body.
What happens after the operation?
Generally, after inner labia reduction there may be pain and swelling in the treated area as well as a possible reduced sensitivity. Patients should use dressings and apply a vaginal Betadine solution for 7-8 days. A few days of rest are also required; the length varies depending on the patient’s job. Tight clothing is not allowed during the first weeks; it’s recommended to use skirts. Return to sexual intercourse after one month.
The use of drugs is limited due to local anaesthesia. If necessary use NSAIDs for the pain. The use of antibiotics may be required to prevent the risk of infections. Furthermore, the use of local antiseptics could be advised.
It may be necessary to use absorbable sutures that will be absorbed after 15-25 days.
All patients say they are fully satisfied with the surgery as it relieves all symptoms and favours an increased self-esteem.
What are the possible risks?
Labiaplasty is rarely associated with any risk. Asymmetry is the rarest risk, whilst other risks – such as bleeding, infections, haematomas or delayed healing – are common in all kinds of surgery. Chronic dryness, pain during intercourse and scars at the vaginal level may occur only in cases of a great reduction. The patient’s age must be taken into consideration. Indeed, it is not a good idea to undergo labiaplasty during adolescence. At this age, changes in size, shape and symmetry of the inner labia are normal and are rarely associated with any issues. The risk of unsatisfactory results in young patients is high. Therefore, the use of labiaplasty should be limited only to cases of strong deformities or other severe problems.