Labiaplasty is a procedure to correct the size or asymmetry of the labia minora.
It can be performed for either medical reasons or for cosmetic reasons. Large labia minora can cause chafing, ulceration and discomfort, and can interfere with the person’s sex life and cause feelings of insecurity. The size and shape of the labia can be affected by various factors, such as childbirth or changes in weight.
Common reasons for seeking labiaplasty include:
– The person is unhappy with the the size or asymmetry of the labia minora
– The size or shape of the labia minora causes chafing, for example during sports or sexual intercourse, or otherwise causes discomfort
– Cosmetic reasons
How is a labiaplasty carried out?
Before a decision is made to perform a labiaplasty, the external genitals and any symptoms are always individually assessed. The person’s situation and symptoms are always discussed at the first appointment with the plastic surgeon before the procedure. At this consultation, the surgeon will examine the person’s external genitalia. However, this does not entail a gynaecological examination – in other words, the internal genitalia are not examined. The surgical technique and amount of tissue to be removed vary according to the person’s anatomy. Sometimes, the procedure may be combined with others, such as reshaping the labia majora through a lipotransfer (i.e. a transfer of fat cells from another part of the body).
The surgeon will ask questions regarding any underlying conditions, medications, and use of natural products. Certain underlying conditions may increase the risks associated with the procedure, and must therefore be discussed at the appointment. To minimise risk, the skin in the operated area must be in good condition, and ailments such as a herpes infection must be treated prior to the procedure.
The date of the procedure will be agreed either at the initial appointment or soon after in accordance with the person’s wishes. A nurse from the Skin Hospital will provide more detailed information by telephone about the procedure before the date of the surgery.
Labiaplasties are almost always performed under local anaesthetic. Before the procedure, the treatment staff applies a topical anaesthetic cream on the area. The cream will reduce the pain caused by the following injection of anaesthetic. It is also possible to provide pain medication or sedatives before the procedure begins. The procedure begins with the attending nurse cleansing and preparing the area to be operated on. The area is then anaesthetised with a small needle. This can cause a little sting and a slight tingling sensation under the skin. When the anaesthetic has taken effect, the excess tissue is removed and the labia are reshaped using a surgical knife and scissors. The procedure is completed by stitching the operated area with dissolving stitches. Including the preparations and depending on the person’s individual situation, the procedure takes between half an hour and an hour.
After the procedure, the person’s condition is monitored for about an hour, after which they can return home if their condition is stable enough. We recommend arranging in advance for a taxi or someone else to drive the person home after the operation. During the first few days after the procedure, the operated area may be a little sore. You can take conventional painkillers such as ibuprofen and paracetamol in accordance with the level of discomfort you are experiencing. These are usually sufficient, and no stronger pain medication is needed. During the first few days, you may experience slight bleeding. The area will be swollen, some bruising may appear.
However, recovery from a labiaplasty takes only one to two weeks. Complications are rare. During the recovery period, it is important to rinse the area carefully with a handheld shower head and carefully pat it dry every time you use the toilet. Sitting for prolonged periods of time should be avoided for the first few days, or even longer if necessary. The wounds usually heal within two weeks, and the stitches dissolve in one to two weeks. Activities such as sauna bathing, swimming, taking baths and sexual intercourse should be avoided until the wounds have completely healed. After the surgery, we will make an appointment with you for a follow-up consultation with the surgeon within approximately two weeks of the procedure.