Although for a long time they were considered a taboo subject, aesthetic interventions in the genital area began to become more and more requested in plastic and aesthetic surgery practices. One such procedure that is quite popular among women is labiaplasty, the labia reduction intervention. Any surgical procedure, regardless of how complex it is, comes with a recovery period as the body needs time to heal. The recovery after labiaplasty is important, and there are certain tips that can make the recovery that little bit more comfortable.
Dr Maryam Seyedabadi is a specialist plastic surgeon performing labiaplasty surgery in Sydney NSW. For the many patients who prefer being operated on in a women-only or more female-friendly & private hospital environment Dr Maryam can be supported in the clinic and theatre by a completely female surgical team.
Download the Guide to Recovery
When Is Labiaplasty Surgery Recommended?
The labiaplasty procedure is a type of surgical intervention with a purely aesthetic purpose, but it can fulfill other functions as well. In general, patients choose to reduce their labia when they are dissatisfied with their appearance, when there is an excess of tissue in the area of the labia minora or labia majora and ptosis appears (that is, excess tissue laxity).
However, labiaplasty can also be recommended when ptosis of the labia creates discomfort. Having labia too large can have an impact on sex life, create discomfort during movements (for example, physical exercises) or be visible in certain clothing – through the bathing suit or while wearing tights.
The procedure can only be performed on adult patients who have realistic expectations from the procedure.
How Is Labiaplasty Surgery Performed?
The procedure consists of making small incisions to remove excess tissue. Most of the time, the labia minora are the ones targeted, but it is possible that ptosis also occurs in the labia majora, although less often. After making the incisions, you can also opt for the injection of own fat into the labia majora, if you wish to give them a fuller shape.
Immediately after the intervention
The procedure is quick, often performed with local or epidural anaesthesia, and the patient can return home a few hours after the intervention. In the first days, there will be a slight inflammation, a phenomenon that is normal and should not be an alarm signal. Cold compresses can be used to help reduce it, and the surgeon can also prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs. It is possible to experience slight itching or pain, but all these symptoms should disappear in a week at most.
Recovery after Labiaplasty – Tips and Recommendations
To carefully monitor the recovery process and detect any problems, it is recommended to return for a check-up one week after the operation and then again in one month. In the meantime, you should take into account some recommendations to help you recover and avoid complications.
It is very important that the operated area is well cleaned and disinfected daily. For disinfection, use sterile physiological serum, and cleaning should be done carefully, without sudden movements, using products with a neutral ph. Your surgeon will also recommend a special product, with antiseptic properties, to be applied daily to avoid infections, immediately after washing.
In order not to put pressure on the operated area, underwear and very tight clothes are not recommended. Therefore, a light, breathable type of clothing should be preferred.
Within 3-4 days, the usual activities can be resumed, but intense physical effort should still be avoided, for approximately 2 weeks. Sexual contact is also contraindicated for a longer period, more precisely 4 weeks. At the end of this interval, if your surgeon considers that everything is fine, you can resume any kind of activities without problems.
7 Tips for Recovery After Labiaplasty Surgery
Recovering from labiaplasty surgery can be a process, but there are several steps you can take to help your body heal:
- Follow your surgeon’s post-operative instructions carefully. This may include taking pain medication, avoiding certain activities, and using ice packs to reduce swelling
- Use sanitary pads for the first few days after surgery to absorb any discharge or bleeding. Avoid using tampons or having sexual intercourse until your surgeon gives you the green light
- Keep the surgical area clean and dry to prevent infection. Take daily showers instead of baths, and avoid swimming or soaking in water until you have fully healed
- Take it easy for the first few days after surgery. Avoid heavy lifting or strenuous physical activity, and limit your daily activities to allow your body to heal
- Avoid exposing the surgical area to direct sunlight for several weeks after the procedure. If you need to be in the sun, protect the area with clothing or a high-SPF sunscreen
- Stay in close communication with your surgeon. If you experience any pain, swelling, or unusual symptoms, reach out to your surgeon for guidance
- Stay positive and keep your expectations realistic. Healing after labiaplasty can take time, so be patient and trust in your body’s ability to heal
When to Reach Out to Your Surgeon after Labiaplasty Surgery?
It’s important to stay in close communication with your plastic surgeon after labiaplasty surgery, especially if you experience any unusual symptoms or concerns. Here are some signs that you should reach out to your surgeon:
- Pain: If you experience severe pain that is not relieved by pain medication, or if you develop new pain after the first few days following surgery, you should reach out to your surgeon
- Swelling: If you experience significant swelling or bruising that persists for more than a few weeks after surgery, you should reach out to your surgeon
- Bleeding: If you experience heavy bleeding or discharge from the surgical site, you should reach out to your surgeon
- Fever: If you develop a fever, it could be a sign of infection. Reach out to your surgeon if you have a fever of 38°F or higher
- Redness or irritation: If you experience redness, irritation, or discomfort in the surgical area, you should reach out to your surgeon
- Delayed healing: If you notice that your body is not healing as expected, or if you have any concerns about the appearance of the surgical site, reach out to your surgeon
It’s important to address any concerns or symptoms promptly to have a successful recovery after labiaplasty surgery. Your surgeon will be able to provide guidance and support to help you through the healing process.
FAQs about Recovery after Labiaplasty
What is labiaplasty surgery?
- Labiaplasty is a surgical procedure that involves reshaping the labia minora (the smaller, inner “lips” of the female genitalia) to reduce their size, shape or asymmetry. The procedure can improve physical discomfort and address concerns about the appearance of the genitalia.
When is a good time to get labiaplasty surgery?
The timing of labiaplasty surgery is a personal decision and can vary based on individual circumstances. Here are some factors to consider:
- Physical discomfort: If you are experiencing physical discomfort, such as pain or irritation, during physical activity or sexual intercourse, you may want to consider having the procedure sooner rather than later
- Age: Some women choose to have labiaplasty in their teens or early twenties, while others wait until later in life. There is no “right” age to have the procedure; it ultimately depends on your individual needs and preferences
- Childbirth: If you are considering having children in the future, you may want to wait until after you have given birth and completed any necessary recovery before having labiaplasty surgery
- Medical conditions: If you have any medical conditions that could affect your ability to heal or increase your risk for complications, your surgeon may recommend waiting until these conditions are resolved before having the procedure
It’s important to have an open and honest conversation with your plastic surgeon about your reasons for considering labiaplasty, your expectations for the outcome, and any concerns you may have. This will help ensure that you make an informed decision about the timing of your procedure.
How long does the recovery process take after labiaplasty surgery?
- Recovery time can vary for each individual, but most people can return to work and light activities within a week or two. More strenuous activities and exercise should be avoided for several weeks. Pain and swelling typically subside within a few days, and any stitches will dissolve on their own within a week or two. Your surgeon will provide detailed post-operative instructions and monitor your progress during follow-up appointments.
What do the scars look like after labiaplasty?
- Like any other surgical intervention, the incisions will leave some small scars. However, the threads used will be resorbable.
What are the possible risks and complications of labiaplasty surgery?
- Like any surgical intervention, there is a possibility of infection, inflammation and bleeding, as well as persistent pain and itching. If you notice any sign of infection or that other symptoms persist, see a doctor immediately. Another potential risk of the procedure is that of creating an asymmetry after labia remodelling.
Further Reading about Body Procedures
- Read Dr Maryam’s Labiaplasty Surgery page
- Read the Post Pregnancy Surgery page
- Read the Liposuction page
- Read the blog about How to Get Rid Of FUPA – a Fat Upper Pubic Area