A labiaplasty is a surgical procedure to reshape your labia to improve the appearance or help with discomfort. Excessive tissue in this intimate area can impact your confidence and hinder your ability to exercise comfortably. If you’re considering a “designer vagina” or labiaplasty, it’s a good idea to learn as much as possible about the procedure and labiaplasty recovery process.
What is Labiaplasty?
According to plastic surgery statistics, labiaplasty grew in popularity by almost 30% from 2015-2019. Labiaplasty is a procedure to reduce the size of the labia minora, the flaps of skin on either side of the vaginal opening. The surgery can reshape the size of the labia and address issues with discomfort. Understanding how to care for your incisions and the treated area is crucial to your results and recovery.
However, the most important thing to ensure you get the results you want is to pick a surgeon with experience performing labiaplasty. When consulting with a surgeon, ask as many questions as possible and ensure they address all your concerns.
You can also ask to see labiaplasty before and after pictures of former patients to see what results to expect. Before and after pictures will also help you decide if the surgeon is the right fit.
How Old Do You Have to Be for Labiaplasty?
A labiaplasty basically helps reduce the size of the labia minora. In the UK, the procedure should not be done on girls below 18 since the labia continues developing beyond puberty into early adulthood. If done to correct a medical condition, girls below 18 may be able to get it.
Some women opt for labiaplasty because they don’t like the look of the labia. Typically, it’s normal to have noticeable skin folds around the vagina opening. These skin folds are not usually a cause for concern and don’t cause any problems. And that’s why the procedure is rarely available on the NHS.
Having labiaplasty is a big decision that you should think about carefully. It is expensive and comes with a degree of risk. At the same time, there is no guarantee that the results will be as expected. If you are thinking about getting the procedure, discuss it with your doctor first.
Sometimes, you could have a condition that is causing you discomfort and is treatable in other ways than a surgical procedure. Additionally, you could just find out that you are not a suitable candidate for the procedure.
What is a Designer Vagina?
With vaginal rejuvenation and labiaplasty growing in popularity, the term “designer vagina” often comes up. While it makes for a catchy heading, you are left wondering what a designer vagina is. In truth, it is an umbrella term used to refer to various procedures supposed to alter the look and feel of your vagina.
The treatments that fall into this umbrella term include:
- Labiaplasty (surgical reduction of the labia minora)
- Vaginoplasty (surgical vaginal tightening)
- Vaginal rejuvenation treatments
So, what does a designer vagina look like? Labiaplasty can be combined with vaginoplasty (designer vagina operation) to achieve a designer vagina. A designer vaginal ideally features a vagina with shorter labia minora leading to a neater external appearance. The vagina will also be tightened internally, resulting in heightened sexual satisfaction. The procedure also results in increased sensitivity and may be a treatment for urinary incontinence.
What are the Benefits of Labiaplasty?
Many people undergo labiaplasty for the following benefits:
For most women, oversized labia is a significant issue that leads to self-esteem and confidence issues. Wearing tight clothing, a bikini, or being intimate with their partners can be frustrating as they worry about how they look. Having labiaplasty is one of the best ways of restoring lost confidence and boosting self-esteem if you’re concerned about the look of your labia.
Comfort When Wearing Certain Clothing
An oversized labia make it challenging to wear certain clothing like bikinis, tight leggings, or snug-fitting pants. Whether that’s because you are concerned about the visible bulges or generally feel uncomfortable, labiaplasty helps prevent such issues.
Reduced Pain and Discomfort
The inner labia is a delicate tissue that can quickly become irritated if exposed during sexual activity or when you wear tight clothing. At the same time, exercises such as riding a bicycle or jogging can be unpleasant as the exposed tissue gets pinched, chaffed, and twisted. Labiaplasty helps remove the excess tissue so you can enjoy your daily activities without pain or discomfort.
Improved Health and Hygiene
Excess vaginal tissue can be a breeding ground for bacteria, making it difficult to keep the area clean. For such women, this means an increased risk of urinary tract infections. Having labiaplasty helps improve your hygiene and reduces your risk of UTIs and other health problems associated with overly large labia.
Increased Sexual Pleasure
Some women with oversized vaginal lips experience discomfort and sometimes pain resulting from the excess tissue getting caught or dragged during intimate moments. Labiaplasty removes the excess tissue making sexual activity more enjoyable.
Part of a Mummy Makeover
One of the common causes of oversized or sagging labia among women is pregnancy and childbirth. A mummy makeover involves a series of customised cosmetic procedures to help you restore your pre-baby body. You can include labiaplasty as part of your mummy makeover. Having the procedures simultaneously means you have one recovery period.
What Happens During Labiaplasty?
Labiaplasty is done on an outpatient basis, meaning you don’t need an overnight stay at the hospital. The procedure requires a general anaesthetic and involves shortening and reshaping the labia. The surgeon removes the excess tissue. The procedure takes about 1 to 2 hours.
There are several techniques the doctor may use, including:
- Trim procedure – this is the original technique. It also happens to be the most natural to perform. During a trim procedure, the surgeon removes the excess part of your labia minora and then sutures what remains so it’s symmetrical with the labia majora.
- Wedge procedure – during the procedure, the plastic surgeon removes a partial wedge from the thickest part of your labia minora. The doctor doesn’t touch the submucosa or layer beneath the mucous membrane. The procedure has grown in popularity since it gives the vagina a natural appearance.
Is Labiaplasty Recovery Painful?
So, is labiaplasty recovery painful? This is a very common question with this procedure. The answer is that it’s not a very painful procedure. Your doctor will encourage you to get up and move almost immediately. There will be some post-op swelling, bruising, and soreness, but this should settle within the first few days.
Pain medication can help to ease any discomfort. In general, the pain subsides after 1 week to the point where you don’t need anything to help ease the pain. Another thing to be aware of is that it’s normal to experience itching in the first week while healing. Although this isn’t painful, it can be frustrating. If the itching persists, speak to your doctor in case of an infection. After 1 week, swelling, pain, and itching should ease significantly.
Labiaplasty Recovery Week by Week
With any cosmetic surgery, it’s crucial to think about the recovery time as it’s essential to achieving optimal results. To give you an idea of what to expect, here’s a breakdown of the labiaplasty recovery timeline:
- Day 1-2 – don’t expect the area to look “normal”. It will likely look swollen, but this is nothing to worry about. Take your pain medication as instructed by your doctor, and make sure to get plenty of rest. Avoid wearing tight clothing.
- Week 1 – the swelling should improve slightly, but it won’t look normal yet, so don’t judge the procedure on the current result. It’s normal to have some itching around the labiaplasty stitches.
- Week 3 – you will continue to notice improvements and can move more freely at this point. You should be able to do more physically demanding tasks gradually.
- Week 4-6 – The swelling should have subsided by this time, and any discomfort left should be manageable. You should be able to resume most normal activities. It’s vital that you wait the full 6 weeks before continuing any sexual activity.
What are the Common Risks and Complications of Labia Surgery?
All cosmetic procedures have a degree of risk, and labiaplasty is no different. Complications are rare, but if they occur, they may include:
- Too much tissue gets removed, resulting in permanent scarring, chronic dryness, and pain
- The doctor may also not remove enough tissue requiring you to undergo another procedure
- Excessive bleeding
- Infection when recovering from the procedure
- Wound opening
- Permanent scarring
- Ongoing discomfort or pain during sex
- Loss of vaginal sensitivity or permanent change in sensation
5 Post-Operative Tips for Labiaplasty Recovery
In general, it takes about 6 weeks to recover from labiaplasty fully. But it’s important to note that everyone heals at a different rate and that you must listen to your surgeon’s instructions and guidance throughout your recovery journey.
1. Don’t Smoke or Drink Alcohol
Whether you’re getting labiaplasty, a tummy tuck, or liposuction, you will hear the same thing about recovery. Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol during your recovery to promote healing. If possible, quit smoking altogether as it can hinder the healing process. For alcohol, usually, you need to wait for at least 2 weeks after your surgery before drinking again.
2. Try a Cold Compress
A cold compress or ice pack can help ease the after-effects of labiaplasty surgery. It can help to reduce the swelling and alleviate discomfort. Your surgeon will tell you how to use this and for how long at a time.
3. Wait to Have Sex
Your scars must be strong enough before you have sex for the first time following your surgery. Generally, it takes 6-8 weeks before your scars are strong enough for you to have sex. But you will need to check with your doctor, who will guide you on the safest way to resume sexual activity.
4. Avoid Strenuous Activity
Although you should be up walking around, avoid strenuous activity. While it can be tempting to hit the gym and get back to your regular exercise routine, your body needs to heal. If you push yourself too early, it could break open your incisions.
5. No Tampons or Menstrual Cups
Avoid using tampons or menstrual cups if you start your period during the labiaplasty healing time. Instead, use sanitary pads. Wear loose-fitting clothing to reduce friction and allow the area to get plenty of air and heal properly.
Labiaplasty, or labia reduction surgery, can increase comfort, boost confidence, and improve the appearance of the labia. Like any cosmetic treatment, you must know as much as possible to make the right decision for yourself and your body.
Labiaplasty Recovery Timeline: How to Prepare for Your Surgery
Before your surgery, stock up on some supplies to have a smooth recovery. You will need to take some time off work and avoid exercise and sexual activity for approximately 6-8 weeks, depending on your healing. The incisions need enough time to heal, and if you were to resume sexual activity too early, it could ruin your result, and you may need reconstructive surgery.
Combining a Designer Vagina with Other Cosmetic Surgical Procedures
If you’re considering getting labiaplasty, you might wonder if combining it with other cosmetic surgical procedures for total rejuvenation is okay. The benefit of having more than one procedure during the same surgery window is that it minimises the risk, cost, and inconvenience of having several surgeries. You can combine labiaplasty with various procedures, including:
Labiaplasty London: Designer Vagina Surgery at the Harley Clinic London
Labiaplasty could be an option if you don’t like the appearance of your labia or have discomfort exercising or wearing tight clothes.
Contact our Harley Street clinic team to discuss your options, or book a consultation today.