Labiaplasty, labia minora reduction or vulval surgery is surgery designed to rejuvenate the external female genitalia, the flaps of skin on either side of the vaginal opening.
Why have labiaplasty surgery?
The labia come in all different shapes and sizes, and it is normal to have folds of skin around the vaginal opening. Women sometimes consider labiaplasty as they are not happy with the look of their labia, or because the labia cause discomfort. The most common type of labiaplasty surgery is to reduce the size of the labia. Here is a run down of the different types of surgery.
What are the different types of labiaplasty?
- A reduction of the labia minora: this can be carried out when they are excessively large (hypertrophied) or if they have an anomalous shape (asymmetrical or including ‘pendants’). These conditions can cause difficulties in sexual relations.
- Fat fillings can also be made on the labia majora and the pubis, in order to increase the plumpness of this area. The loss of smoothness and volume in this area can lead to feelings of embarrassment in some women when going to the beach, and even problems in being naked in front of their partner.
- The opposite technique can also be applied, that is to say, to extract surplus fat in cases of labia or pubis that have a lot of volume, a problem that can draw attention to the area when tight clothes are worn.
- Other candidates for genital labia surgery are patients who seek an aesthetic or morphological improvement in their genital area. Due to the passage of time, some sports or multiple births, stretching can be experienced in the external vaginal area.
The different techniques of labiaplasty
The surgical technique depends on the case. For example, when reducing the labia minora, a particular technique is used to remove excess skin and suture the edges.
However not all labia considered "big" are the same, which is why the most appropriate method should be selected for each patient. If the aim is to reduce the labia majora or bulging of the pubis, excess fat is eliminated by liposuction, or for a limited area, through miniliposuction – this is a technique that is slightly simpler than liposuction and is performed with fine cannulas that melt the fat of the patient. To increase the labia majora or the volume of the pubis (Mons pubis or mons Venus), hyaluronic acid or the patient’s own fat tissue (lipostructure) is introduced.
There are also procedures to reduce the excess skin around the clitoris, through circular incisions and small sutures in the so-called "clitoral cap", thus leaving this delicate erogenous zone more exposed to sexual relations.
Following their decision to undergo genital surgery, many women begin to feel nervous, this is normal. Stay calm and continue your daily routine, including your sex life. We recommend that patients stop smoking. Tobacco is very harmful and tissues will need extra oxygen to regenerate as quickly as possible. Your health will thank you and the healing process will be better and easier. As with any surgical procedure, a blood test, a chest x-ray, and an electrocardiogram should be done. A few days before the date set for the operation, the results of the tests will be assessed to verify it is sufficiently safe to continue the process. If you are a healthy person, there should be no risk in having the operation.
The day of surgery and postoperative care
Before the day of the operation it is normal to feel a little more nervous than usual, but you should try to sleep as much as possible the night before. In the morning, have a full body wash with a neutral soap, avoid moisturising creams, and remove any nail polish from your finger and toe nails. Once in the hospital, the area to be treated will be carefully cleaned to disinfect it and then you will meet the team of anaesthetists. Labiaplasty or labia reduction is performed under local anaesthetic, on an outpatient basis.
The first few days after the surgery, you might notice some discomfort due to inflammation. This, as well as some small bruises, is normal. There is no need to worry about stitches because labiaplasty is performed with a suture in the vaginal mucosa with absorbable thread. It is recommended that you rest for 24 to 48 hours after the operation, but you do not need to be admitted to the hospital for more than a few hours.
Returning to your routine
A few days after the operation you will feel stronger and more able to return to your daily routine. At first you may find the area swollen, and you may feel numbness or pain caused by your underwear or when sitting, although such discomfort will subside with the medication you are prescribed. In all likelihood, you will be able to resume your normal activities in about four or five days. During recovery, you should avoid very tight underwear. It should also be noted that each person has a different healing pace, so there is no general rule that applies to all women who have had a labiaplasty. Recovery will depend on your own body. Until healing is complete, which will take around four to five weeks, avoid actions that could damage the treated area, such as sexual intercourse, or other activities such as riding a bicycle or riding a horse. In addition, the genital area must be kept clean with proper hygiene, without products that alter the natural flora of your vagina.