Labiaplasty refers to surgery to the female external genitalia, for comfort and appearance.
The anatomy of a woman’s vulva is unique and often inherited. However, the shape can change due to childbirth, weight loss, stages of life or simply the ageing process. When this occurs, some women may find activities such as exercising or intercourse to be especially difficult or unpleasant. They may also choose to stop wearing form-fitting clothing because of the more noticeable appearance of the vulva.
If you experience discomfort in the vulva area, labiaplasty may be a highly beneficial solution for your needs. Whether you are concerned about the cosmetic appearance, or you suffer from chronic irritation, Dr Robert Knight is experienced with performing this intimate surgery and helping patients achieve improved comfort and confidence. Depending on your specific needs, she may recommend altering the shape or size of the labia minora, labia majora, and/or mons pubis.
How can this procedure help me?
Whether you seek labiaplasty for functional or cosmetic reasons, the procedure has proven to make a dramatic impact on many of our patients’ lives. Our plastic surgeon, Dr Robert Knight, works closely with her patients interested in labiaplasty, to determine if the procedure is right for you, as well as to inform you of what to expect throughout the process. The surgery holds numerous advantages to the right candidates, providing long-lasting relief from the discomfort and embarrassment that some women experience.
By altering the shape and/or size of the anatomy within the vulva region, the benefits can include:
- Less prominence in the appearance of the female genitalia
- Decreased pain or discomfort from wearing tighter-fitting garments
- Reduction in chafing and pinching sensations
- Less discomfort and embarrassment during sexual intimacy
- Improved confidence by minimising self-consciousness
What to Expect from Labiaplasty
Many women have improved their quality of life by seeking the expertise of our plastic surgeon, Dr Robert Knight for their labiaplasty procedure. Often a sensitive topic, labiaplasty can address discomfort that some women suffer from in the vulva area. In addition to the physical irritation, the anatomy in this intimate area can be a cosmetic concern for some, making them self-conscious about their appearance.
To help patients regain their confidence and feel comfortable, Dr Knight undertakes a private, comprehensive and informative consultation with each patient. Should you choose to move forward with the procedure, our plastic surgeon will help you understand what you can realistically expect.
Can I combine labiaplasty with other procedures?
Your consultation with our plastic surgeon, Dr Robert Knight
When you come in for your initial consultation, Dr Knight will discuss your concerns with you and what you hope to achieve. After going over your medical history and conducting a thorough examination of the vulva region, Dr Knight will help you understand what you can realistically expect from the labiaplasty, and if it can help you reach your ideal outcome. The surgery, risks and recovery process will all be explained to you in detail, and a cost estimate for your surgery provided. A second preoperative consultation may also be recommended.
The Procedure: What Does it Involve?
Every labiaplasty surgery is fully customised to each individual’s anatomy and specific concerns. This often involves one or more of the following:
- Excess tissue being removed from enlarged labia minora or majora
- Reduction of the labia majora or mons pubis through liposuction
- Augmentation of the labia majora or mons pubis with fat grafting
The ultimate goal with the procedure is to improve the balance among the genital structures to achieve the desired look and resolve the concerns and irritations.
Immediately following the procedure, patients can typically begin to notice their results. However, swelling will affect the initial look and can last about three to six weeks, during which time they should avoid sexual activity and strenuous activities. Following this period, patients can get an idea of how their final results will look and feel.
Will I need to be hospitalised for the procedure?
Labiaplasty is usually is performed as “day surgery” in one of Dr Knight’s accredited hospitals, under either “twilight” or general anaesthesia, with local anaesthetic also used to minimise discomfort during and after the procedure. The surgery usually takes 1 – 1.5 hours to perform. Dissolving stitches are used that do not need to be removed, and simple and light dressings provided for your return home. You will be able to go home a few hours after your surgery.
What is recovery like?
After the procedure you can expect to have some discomfort, but positioning and pain medications reduce this. The discomfort over the first few days , and is mostly resolved around a week. You will be provided with a prescription for pain medications to take at home, after discussion and a plan tailored to you with your anaesthetist.
Commonly a degree of swelling and bruising is expected which can be improved by reducing sheer, wearing tighter underpants and cool packs. Small amounts of bleeding initially are also normal and wearing a pad will aide your comfort.
Your wounds will need to remain moist to aide healing with an antibiotic ointment applied twice a day. Toileting as normal with gentle care with the ointment providing a barrier. You may shower the day after the procedure for your comfort.
Dr Knight will see you before you go home and at regular intervals after the procedure to ensure comfort and answer any questions you may have about your surgery. Once home, resting for a few days will improve your recovery and avoiding strenuous activities and sexual intercourse is essential to a good result.
Results: What and When?
With this procedure the changes are evident straight after the surgery, but swelling and bruising of this delicate tissue will obscure the results for up to six weeks or longer. Dr Knight will guide you through your post-operative phase with regular review to ensure optimal healing.
When can I resume day to day activity?
Healing of the wounds of this delicate tissue is often better than many would expect, as it is a mucosa in a moist environment. You play an important part in the healing by avoiding sheering and excessive sweating with strenuous exercise and sexual intercourse. Depending on healing these activities may need to be avoided for up to six weeks.
Normal activities and walking within comfort can start a few days after the procedure and slowly increase over the coming weeks. Sitting flat may be uncomfortable for the first few days, made easier by using a soft cushion. Most patients take one week off work following labiaplasty and return to office based work after this time. A more strenuous role may require a little longer. Driving is not advised whilst on strong pain medications.
What complications can arise from the procedure?
As with any surgical procedure, there are potential risks and complications. These include:
- Bruising, bleeding, haematoma formation
- Wound healing issues
- Anaesthetic problems
- Deep Vein thrombosis
- Delayed wound healing
These complications are rare, and all steps are taken to prevent complications from occurring.
Specific to labiaplasty, the outcomes and complications may include:
- Asymmetry – almost no one is perfectly symmetrical
- Under-correction – Not enough tissue removed
- Over-correction – Too much tissue removed
- Poor or painful scarring
- Haematoma or blood clot formation – may require return to surgery
- Infection – treated with antibiotics
- Sensation changes
Will this procedure leave scars?
Mucosa generally scars well, such that the scars are difficult to find once mature. Scars will be placed in inconspicuous folds to optimize the overall result.
Any more questions?
Please feel free to Contact Us with any additional questions that you might have about this procedure. Our team will be happy to address any concerns that you may have.