What it is, what to expect, recovery and more

Labia reconstruction or labiaplasty is a surgical procedure to modify and shape the lips of the vulva. You may consider this surgery for a variety of reasons, including making your labia more symmetrical, for comfort, and to avoid the stigma of labia enlargement.

If you’re considering this cosmetic procedure, read this guide to learn what it is, what to expect, recovery and more.

What to expect before labia reconstruction?

The first visit to your surgeon involves discussing why you want the operation. Your service provider asks about your goals and expectations for providing customized services.

Ask questions to understand labia reconstruction, including possible risks and expected costs.

Your surgeon will explain what to expect during the procedure, such as placement of the surgical site and any changes to the labia after surgery. Expect some pre-surgical tests, such as a chest X-ray and blood work, to determine if you are a good candidate for labia reconstruction.

Professional labia reconstruction provides instructions to prepare you for the procedure. These include what to wear, foods and drinks to avoid, and medications you should stop taking while you wait for surgery.

Follow the recommendations for your procedure for better results.

How do surgeons perform labia reconstruction surgery?

Professionals perform labia reconstruction using one of two techniques: wedge resection and edge resection. They perform the procedures under anesthesia.

Edge resection is where the surgeon trims the edges of protruding labia. Wedge resection involves cutting wedge-shaped skin from the labia and using dissolvable sutures to connect the remaining skin. This maintains the shape of the original labia.

While many plastic surgeons use the edge (or trim) method, there is a chance that the surgeon will resect too much tissue, which causes another set of problems. Because of this, be sure to choose a surgeon who is highly experienced with this procedure and specializes in genital surgery. These professionals are experts in vulva/vaginal anatomy and how to manipulate tissues without affecting sensation.

What to expect during recovery?

Reconstruction of the labia is an outpatient procedure. You can go home the same day after the operation. You should take about three to seven days off work to allow the sores and swelling of the labia to subside.

Your surgeon will recommend anti-inflammatories for pain relief and antibiotics to minimize the risk of infection. Consider these tips for a faster and smoother recovery:

  • Wear loose clothing to prevent excessive pain and friction
  • Take sitz or salt baths to reduce soreness
  • Avoid strenuous activities and rigorous exercises
  • Abstain from sex and tampon use for four to six weeks

Long-term care

As you recover from labia reconstruction, you should follow up with your surgeon for evaluation to ensure complete healing. Your service provider may recommend that you use vaginal lubrication during sexual contact to prevent chafing.

If you experience discomfort when urinating, this is normal and occurs when your labia are exposed to acidic urine. Over time, your skin adapts and the pain goes away. Discuss with your surgeon how to differentiate a urinary tract infection from dysuria.

Lifestyle adjustments

After complete healing, you are okay to resume your daily activities without significant lifestyle changes. You can participate in exercises and intercourse without limitations or restrictions.

Important FAQs

When seeking labia reconstruction, you should understand the procedure for your safety and obtain desirable results. Here are most of them common questions about labiaplasty:

What happens during my first consultation with a surgeon?

Your service provider will discuss your symptoms and expectations with you. They perform some medical tests to determine if you qualify for the surgery. If you are a good candidate, they explain the details of the procedure.

How is labia recovery?

After labiaplasty, you can expect bruising and swelling at the surgical incision sites for about two weeks. You should not have intercourse or exercise for at least six weeks. Spotting may occur in the first few days, but you should manage this by wearing pads.

Most patients resume work after three to four days. Your surgeon uses dissolvable stitches, which do not need to be removed.

Are there possible complications?

Most patients have no complications after the procedure. Excessive bleeding, infection, and suture line separation are potential risks. Consult your service provider if you discover complications for recommendations. When looking for a labia reconstruction surgeon, choose one board certified professional to minimize the risks.

Am I a good candidate for labia reconstruction?

If you have problems with your enlarged outer or inner labia, such as discomfort, you may be a good candidate for the procedure. You should be healthy and have reasonable expectations. The cosmetic procedure improves the condition and increases your self-confidence. Consult a board-certified surgeon for examination to determine your candidacy for labiaplasty.

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