LABIA SURGERY / REDUCTION - LABIAPLASTY
The term labiaplasty refers to a procedure that reduces the length of the labia minora. It is the most commonly performed vaginal rejuvenation procedure and it can relieve symptoms women experience from excessive length of the labia. Women opt for surgery for a variety of reasons, including pain from twisting and tugging of the labia when riding a bike or during intercourse, itching, irritation and self-consciousness.
The goal of the procedure is to reduce the labia minora so that they don’t hang below the hair-bearing labia majora. A labiaplasty may be performed to reduce asymmetry when one is longer than the other, or, more commonly, to reduce the length of both. It is a procedure that can be done under either local anesthesia with oral sedation or under general anesthesia.
The most common type of labiaplasty is the trim procedure, in which the extra tissue is removed and sewn up directly. Next in popularity is the wedge procedure, which maintains a natural border after a pie-shaped piece of tissue has been removed. Extra folds of the clitoral hood can also be reduced at the same time. The closure is usually done with absorbable sutures.
The risks associated with labiaplasty include those of most surgical procedures, including bleeding, hematoma and infection. The most common complication is over-resection. While some women desire an aggressive reduction, this can result in chronic dryness, scarring at or near the vaginal opening and pain with intercourse. Healing problems are more likely to occur with a wedge procedure, particularly if the patient is exposed to substances that cause blood vessels to shrink.
Most patients take a few days off from work, during which they can reduce swelling and pain by icing with a cold pack sandwiched between the patient’s underpants and an elastic garment, like Spanx. Patients can usually resume wearing tampons or having intercourse after six weeks. While the most distorting swelling is gone by 6 weeks, residual swelling may take six months to disappear.
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