Do you like your vagina? For some, this question may seem absurd, but it’s surprisingly common for women to have problems with the appearance or sexual performance of their vaginas, especially after child birth or as aging takes its toll. Once tight skin has become loose with time and stretching and it can impact not only your body image but also your sexual health.
What is Labiaplasty?
Labiaplasty is an outpatient vaginal surgery performed either to repair a physical defect of the labia (whether congenital or accident-related) or for aesthetic or functional reasons (e.g. to reduce the size of the labia minora, reduce the clitoral hood for increased sexual pleasure, etc.).
Labia are made in many shapes and sizes, so the amount of tissue removed during surgery will depend on how your body is formed and how you want your vagina to look. The length of time it can take varies by individual, but a good estimate is about an hour.
At San Diego Cosmetic Laser Clinic, a labiaplasty is performed by Dr. Parvin Mani in a sterile operating room, after which you are transported to a recovery room. You will need to arrange for someone to drive you home after your procedure as you won’t be able to drive.
Before your labiaplasty, also make sure to prepare your body by stopping the use of blood thinners such as aspirin or St. John’s Wort as outlined by Dr. Mani in your pre-op consultation. It is also advisable to stop smoking at least two weeks before your procedure to improve healing times and reduce the risk of infection. The consumption of alcoholic beverages should also be stopped about two weeks before your operation date. Instead, drink lots of water.
Immediately after your surgery, you should arrive home comfortably under the effects of the local anesthetic. About two hours after your procedure, the anesthetic will begin to wear off and you will start to feel the swelling, which will last for two to four weeks after surgery.
Take your pain medication as prescribed for comfort and try to move around as little as possible for the next two to three days. Depending on the type of surgery you’ve received, you may be instructed not to bathe for 48 hours after your procedure. If you have a desk job and a strong pain tolerance, you may be able to return to work after this point, but it’s best to plan a resting period for one to two weeks.
The first couple of weeks after your labiaplasty should be taken at a very slow, easy pace. Mild strolling and slow walks up and down stairs will be acceptable, but you shouldn’t lift anything heavier than five pounds. Keeping the sutures clean and dry is of utmost importance. After a short waiting period, you will be instructed to clean your incisions regularly and apply fresh, dry bandages. The use of menstrual pads is also encouraged to help wick away seepage from the wounds. This drainage will persist off and on for up to four weeks after surgery.
Make sure to wear loose pants, skirts, and underwear (i.e. no thongs or tight-fitting garment bottoms) during this time to minimize irritation and moisture around your surgical site as this may lead to an infection. The use of tampons is also discouraged for similar reasons.
Around week two to four after labiaplasty, you may see watery drainage and pass pieces of your sutures. This is a normal and expected occurrence with dissolving stitches. Also around this time, swelling and bruising will lessen and you will start to feel much more like yourself again.
Even if you appear to be healing quickly, it is still strongly advised to avoid sexual intercourse or any type of vaginal penetration to avoid separation of tissues, prolonging recovery times and/or excessive scarring. By six weeks, you should be ready to resume all normal activities.
If, at any time during recovery, you experience increased pain, foul-smelling drainage, nausea, redness around the incision, or a fever above 100 degrees, please call the clinic immediately. You may be suffering from an infection.
Dr. Parvin Mani of San Diego Cosmetic Laser Clinic isn’t just a plastic surgeon, she is a board certified gynecologist as well. Please call our office today to schedule a consultation and let Dr. Mani help you decide if labiaplasty could be your next step to vaginal rejuvenation.
What is the Labiaplasty Recovery Time?
Before going in for a labiaplasty, it is important to have a firm understanding of what the recovery process will be like. Recovery from the procedure can best be split up into 4 different phases.
Labiaplasty Post-Op Recovery
Immediately after the procedure, the recovery period in Post-Op is brief, with the average stay in the recovery area lasting under 15 minutes. The local anesthetic used during a labiaplasty wears off on average around 2 hours after surgery, with most patients able to walk out the door under their own power with little to no pain. Once the local anesthetic has worn off, grab an ice pack and place it on the vulvar area to reduce swelling and provide some relief. We also suggest using a feminine pad to absorb any blood or fluids that the surgery produces.
Labiaplasty Week 1 Recovery
Lay low over the first few days of recovery. Binge that Netflix show you have put on the backburner or curl up with a good book. You may have some pain and discomfort, so make sure to grab some over the counter anti-inflammatory and painkilling medication such as Ibuprofen or Aleve. Now is the time to bust out some comfy clothes, as tight clothing and underwear can rub the surgical edges and cause irritation. Now is not the time to get intimate with your significant other, as vaginal sexual activity is off limits for the first 6 to 8 weeks following the procedure. Your doctor will give you some vaginal stretching to try once pain has subsided, and these must be repeated for 6 to 8 weeks following surgery. Finally, we will provide you with an estrogen cream to apply daily that will help aid the healing process and recovery.
Labiaplasty Weeks 2 to 4 Recovery
In weeks 2 to 4, gradually start to ramp up your physical activity, going for walks and other light activities. Avoid anything too strenuous, such as lifting heavy objects, high-impact exercise, running or aerobics. During this time period, the sutures in the wound will begin to be absorbed and later discharged along with a watery gelatinous fluid. This is nothing to worry about, and completely normal.
Labiaplasty Weeks 5 to 8 Recovery
Weeks 5 through 8 is time to slowly get back to your normal routine. Make sure to wait until any pain or soreness has subsided, but once you are pain-free resume normal activities. If you experience a lot of swelling, excessive bleeding, a fever, an odorous discharge or any other concerns, make sure to contact San Diego Cosmetic Laser for assistance.