Labiaplasty, also known as labia minora reduction, or vaginal lip reduction, is a procedure to correct enlargement or asymmetry of the labia. Enlargement of the labia minora can cause women to feel insecure about their appearance and can be associated with discomfort during sexual intercourse, some physical activities, and tighter fitting clothing. Usually the labia minora (inner lip) is concealed by the labia majora (outer lip). Protrusion of the labia minora 1-3 cm beyond the labia majora is frequently categorized as mild enlargement where as protrusion of more than 3 cm is usually considered severe hypertrophy. Labiaplasty is a relatively simple procedure that is increasing tremendously in frequency. The procedure can be performed under local anesthetic and sedation or general anesthetic depending on patient preference. In addition to reducing the size and protrusion of the labia minora, other procedures such as clitoral hood reduction and fat grafting to the labia majora are commonly performed for a more complete vaginal rejuvenation.
The 20 year old patient below complained of pain with sexual intercourse, physical activities, and tight jeans as a result of enlarged labia minora. She underwent labiaplasty as an outpatient procedure and is now relieved of all discomfort and has more self confidence about the appearance of her genitalia.
What is the recovery process like following labial reduction surgery?
Many women are concerned about significant pain following labial reduction surgery although most are surprised with the relatively mild discomfort they actually experience. Pain medications are given for after surgery but most patients stop using the medications within two days of surgery. Dissolvable sutures are used to close the incisions during surgery. Icing and elevation of the groin are recommended to minimize post-operative swelling. Patients are walking the day of surgery and are getting back to work (depending on the nature of their job) 3-4 days following surgery. Exercise is limited for the first 2-4 weeks after surgery and sexual intercourse needs to be avoided for 4-6 weeks after surgery.
Is change in sensation likely after labiaplasty?
While it is possible for any operation to adversely affect sensation, the nerves to the clitoris and erogenous zones of the vagina are well away from the surgical incisions and area of the labia minora that is reduced. Decreased sensation and physical discomfort are extremely uncommon following labiaplasty. In fact, most women find sexual intercourse more comfortable and enjoyable following the procedure.
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