Labial hypertrophy is a complex term to describe a common and simple phenomenon: enlargement of the female genitalia. Many women suffer from labial hypertrophy, and are often embarrassed and self-conscious about the condition. While some women are born with larger than average genitalia, others experience changes due to childbirth and aging, as hormones and time can enlarge the labia.
In most cases, women begin to notice labial hypertrophy when wearing a bathing suit or other tight-fitting clothing. This can be uncomfortable during certain activities, such as exercise, in addition to the cosmetic concerns that labial hypertrophy can cause.
Many women choose not to pursue treatment for labial hypertrophy, but if you are uncomfortable with the appearance and size of the area, there is a surgical procedure that can reduce the size of the labia, recontouring the area and improving the appearance. This procedure is known as labiaplasty. A labiaplasty procedure involves the removal of excess tissue and careful shaping of the labia minora (inner protruding tissues of the genitalia) to restore a comfortable and attractive shape and size.
In addition to labial hypertrophy, women may also develop a deflated, or shrunken labia majora (the outer part of the female genitalia), which can be treated using a variety of techniques, most of which are minimally invasive. Rejuvenation of the labia can increase everyday comfort, enhance sexual intercourse, and improve self-esteem and confidence.
Not sure if a labiaplasty is right for you? A consultation at Emory Aesthetic Center will be the first step in determining whether or not you are a good candidate for the procedure. Our skilled plastic surgeons will discuss your goals with you and walk you through the benefits, risks, and specifics of the labiaplasty procedure. Your candidacy will also be evaluated at this time. This is a great opportunity to ask questions, get to know our surgeons, and determine if the labiaplasty is right for you.
Not everyone is a good candidate for labiaplasty, and assessing your candidacy is an important part of the surgical planning process. To be eligible for labiaplasty, candidates should be in generally good health, and have excess bulk in the genital area that affects comfort or self-esteem. Patients need to be realistic about the results of the procedure, and should discuss with a plastic surgeon the type of results that can be expected.
The first step in labiaplasty surgery is anesthesia for both patient safety and comfort. There are different options for anesthesia, and the type that will be used depends on each patient's needs and the complexity of the procedure.
Once anesthesia has been administered, delicate instruments will be used to remove wedge-shaped pieces of tissue to minimize the trauma and scarring to the area. The labia will be carefully reshaped, and in some cases the labia majora will be addressed as well, if desired for shape. This can also be performed as a standalone procedure.
Following a labiaplasty, patients will need downtime to recover, although there is no incision care to deal with. Most women are back to work within five to seven days after their procedure. Ice is used during the first few days to help alleviate swelling and pain/discomfort. Prescribed medication will also help keep discomfort under control.
Patients will need to limit activity for a few weeks after surgery. Your surgeon will provide you with specific instructions, and complying with these instructions will help ensure that the tissues heal properly and minimize the risk for post-op complications.
Will the labiaplasty surgery be painful?
During the procedure, anesthesia will be used to prevent pain. Following the procedure, a combination of ice and prescribed medication will help keep discomfort under control throughout the initial healing process.
Should I wait until I have children to proceed with labiaplasty?
That depends on your situation. If you are planning to have children in the near future, then it might be a good idea to postpone the surgery. However, if you are experiencing significant discomfort or embarrassment related to the problem, then immediate surgery may be recommended. Consider your own feelings and discuss your concerns with your plastic surgeon before you make a decision.
What are the risks of labiaplasty?
Labiaplasty is a minimally invasive surgery, but there are risks to every surgical procedure. It is important to be aware of potential complications. The potential for complications is greatly reduced by choosing an experienced plastic surgeon. The risks of a labiaplasty, although rare, can include:
- Anesthesia complications or reactions
- Excessive scarring
- Unfavorable cosmetic results
- Painful sexual intercourse
- Reduced sensitivity
Can labiaplasty correct asymmetry? Will only one side be treated?
Uneven labia majora are a concern for many women. Asymmetry can be treated with labiaplasty, though in most cases, some work will need to be done on both sides of the labia to create a symmetrical result of the desired shape and size.
How soon can I have sex after surgery?
As a precaution, you should not engage in sexual activity for about six weeks following surgery. This is for your safety, and to promote optimal results and proper healing.
What is the right age for labiaplasty?
There is no "right" age for plastic surgery-it all depends on the needs and wishes of the patient. With that said, labiaplasty should be performed on adult women with realistic expectations for the results of the procedure. Even young women undergo the procedure, since labial hypertrophy can be a genetic issue.
Will there be noticeable scars?
As with any surgery, there will be some scarring. However, they should not be noticeable, as much of the labia minora is hid by the labia majora. Current partners will notice the difference, but any future partners should not be able to tell that you had a labiaplasty procedure.
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