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Labiaplasty surgery is surgery to reshape the labia. It is one of the surgeries for the “designer vagina”. In the vast majority of patients, the labia minora or inner labial lips are reduced in size and reshaped. Less commonly the labia majora or outer labial lips are reshaped too and sometimes excess skin folds are removed from the clitoral hood. Labiaplasty is a procedure performed increasingly often in the UK and we get a large number of enquiries about it every week at Purity Bridge.
Why do women want labiaplasty surgery? There are many reasons that women come to see our Purity Bridge Consultant Plastic Surgeons about labiaplasty surgery. Some women can develop large or asymmetrical labia minora (inner lips) after puberty or pregnancy. This can cause them to feel very self-conscious and in some cases, it is noticeable in tight clothing and swimwear or can cause problems during intercourse or some sporting activities e.g. cycling, horseriding. During the menopause or after a large amount of weight loss, the labial tissue can become stretched and droop. Some women are extremely self-conscious about the appearance of their labia to the extent that it severely affects their self-esteem, confidence and sense of femininity. The procedure of labiaplasty generally involves reducing the size of the labia minora to a more aesthetically pleasing size and shape.
It is however extremely important to note that there is a very wide range of what is considered a normal appearance of the labia. Labia vary considerably in size, shape and colour and can change in appearance during puberty and pregnancy.
How do I know if a labiaplasty is the right procedure for me? Our experienced Consultant Plastic Surgeons will explore the reasons you are considering a labiaplasty with you at your labiaplasty consultation, take a full medical history and examine you. If you are a suitable candidate for a labiaplasty procedure, they will then explain the procedure to you and go over the recovery and aftercare information and any potential risks with you. You will get an information leaflet to take home. If you wish to proceed with surgery, you will then be seen for a second consultation before arrangements for surgery are confirmed. The purpose of the second consultation is to ensure that you have received and understood all the information that you need about the labiaplasty and that you have a further chance to ask any questions that you may have.
What is done during the labiaplasty surgery? Labiaplasty is usually performed under local anaesthetic (awake with the area numbed) unless a general anaesthetic (asleep) is requested or other surgery is being done at the same time. It is done as a day case procedure and can be done at the Purity Bridge clinic. There are many variations in how the surgery is done. During the surgery, the size of the labia minora are reduced either by removing a thin strip of tissue along the edge or by removing a wedge shaped area of tissue. Removing tissue in a wedge shaped manner leaves less scarring at the edge of reshaped labia although the scars usually heal very well and are very discrete. Any clitoral hood extra skin can be removed as part of either techniques if planned. This is done in a way that will not damage or affect sexual sensation or stimulation of the clitoris.
What happens afterwards? It will be necessary to gently shower the area daily to keep the surgical wounds clean and to wear a pad in the begining until the area heals. Antiseptic cream is often applied in the early stages of recovery in addition. Tampons should be avoided until the area is healed. (In general, it is best to time the surgery for when you do not have your period and when it is not due immediately afterwards.)
Afterwards, most people can return to work between a few days and two weeks depending on the type of work and how they are recovering. There will be some swelling and bruising of the area that gradually settles down over the couple of weeks after surgery. Strenuous sports and sexual intercourse should be avoided until the area is fully healed. This is usually about 4 to 6 weeks post surgery.
The vast majority of patients who have undergone a labiaplasty are delighted with the results and very pleased that they have had the surgery. We continually hear from our patients that they are so much more comfortable and confident! It is very rewarding for us that it can make such a difference for our patients.
(Labiaplasty is not recommended for girls under eighteen years of age.)