Labiaplasty: The least talked about plastic surgery procedure
Every year sees new records set for the volume of aesthetic and cosmetic procedures undergone globally due to the huge and growing popularity as well as rising social acceptance of medical beauty enhancement. Nose jobs, tummy tucks, double eyelid surgery and V-line facial contouring surgery have all become fairly common place. However, a less talked-about cosmetic procedure, the labiaplasty, is quietly creeping up the ranks of the most popular forms of plastic surgery.
The labia refers to the lips around the vagina and the procedure of labiaplasty refers to the tightening of the lips around the vagina. It may be performed on the labia majora, i.e., the outer lips of the vagina or the labia minora, i.e., the smaller inner lips of the vagina, although it is most commonly performed on the inner lips of the vagina. The labiaplasty procedure can, in some cases, be combined with vaginoplasty (the tightening of the vagina).
The labiaplasty is a rejuvenating surgery that seeks to fix labia minora and labia majora so that the former does not hang below the latter. It also helps achieve symmetry in the labial tissue, thus reducing any tugging or twisting of the labia and thereby preventing any discomfort.
However, presently, labiaplasty is primarily undertaken for aesthetic rather than functional purposes. A tight and smaller labia could potentially help enhance your sexual experience and that of your partner and boost your self-confidence. After having undergone this procedure, you can easily opt to wear those tight pants, bikinis and bathing suits that you have always wanted to throw on without the labia being prominently spotted and making you feel awkward in public.
How is labiaplasty carried out?
The labiaplasty may be carried out by either a gynecologist or a plastic surgeon. It is performed under local or general anesthesia. If performed under local anesthesia, sedation is also used to put the patient to sleep.
The unwanted labial tissue is omitted using either a scalpel or laser; laser is preferable as it helps to achieve a greater degree of precision and minimize the risk of infection. After having achieved the desired size, the loose ends will be stitched delicately using dissolvable stitches. The procedure will take one to two hours to complete. You can be discharged the same day but will need to take some time off from work and physical activity to recover fully.
Labiaplasty aftercare regimen
Following are a few things that must be undertaken to achieve quick recovery without risk of complications and infection:
- Your surgeon will prescribe certain medications and ointments. Make sure you take those on time
- Don’t drive home yourself post surgery. Ask someone else to drive you back
- You must take plenty of rest and should ideally take at least a week of leave from work
- Start walking as soon as possible but very slowly. This will prevent the formation of blood clots. However, you must avoid strenuous or heavy activities as this will cause swelling and delay the healing process
- When taking a bath, be very gentle with the operated area. To wipe, pat gently and apply your ointment post bath
- Avoid using tampons until the area has healed. Use sanitary napkins instead during your periods.
- Avoid smoking and drinking until you are completely healed. While smoking will slow your healing process, drinking will result in fluid retention, worsening the swelling
- Sleep in a comfortable position
- Wear lose clothing, especially underwear
- Avoid sexual intercourse for four to six weeks until you’re completely healed
- Follow a balanced diet to prevent constipation as straining to move your bowels can worsen bleeding
What are the side effects of labiaplasty?
Labiaplasty may result in certain side effects, although these are not typically permanent in nature. Recovery is expected in a matter of few weeks. Typical temporary side-effects include the following:
- Soreness and bruising
- Reduced sensitivity of genitals
- A blood clot
- Allergy to certain medications
- Sexual intercourse may feel painful
- Urination and sitting may feel painful but painkillers are prescribed to help with such issues beforehand
As with all cosmetic surgery procedures, there is also a chance that satisfactory results may not be achieved with your first surgery and you may want to opt for another one to correct it.
In case of excessive bleeding or an infection, you must consult your surgeon, who performed your labiaplasty.
It is strongly advised that girls under the age of 18 years old must avoid undergoing this procedure unless absolutely necessary. This is advised because even after the age of 18, the tissues will continue to grow into early adulthood.
As a result, it will keep growing and attain a different shape altogether. Hence opting for a surgery at a young age will prove futile and can adversely impact the development and final shape of the labial tissue. There are also chances that you may, in the future experience other complications including a loss of sensitivity.
What are the benefits of labiaplasty?
After having undergone labiaplasty, you are likely to experience the following benefits, post-healing of course:
- Lesser prominence of genitals when wearing tight pants
- Lesser pain or discomfort when wearing tight clothes
- A boost in self-confidence that typically replaces self-consciousness
- No more embarrassment or uneasiness while engaging in sexual activities
- No more tugging or twisting sensations in the labia
Labiaplasty as a medical requirement
There is no standard size of the labia. It differs from one person to another. As a result, labiaplasty isn’t performed in order to achieve a desired shape or size in medical terms.
A surgeon will only recommend that you undergo this procedure if it is absolutely necessary, i.e., if it is disrupting your day to day activities in any form or even worse, poses the risk of developing cancer.
How much will a labiaplasty cost you?
The labiaplasty is an expensive procedure, a reflection of the sensitive nature of the area of the body that it is performed on which requires the surgeon to have a greater level of skill and precision.
The labiaplasty can cost you around US$3,000 to US$6,000 in the US, Canada or UK. However, if you choose to undergo labiaplasty in Asia, the cost will typically be much lower. For example, in South Korea, the cost can be 50% lower than that in the USA or the UK. In case of Thailand, the cost could be as low as US$1,000 to US$1,400.
The cost will vary, however, depending on the clinic or hospital that you choose to undergo the procedure at as well as the existing structure of your labial tissue, your expectations from the surgery and based on whether you have had previous surgery in the vaginal area.