What is labiaplasty?
Labiaplasty, often also referred to as vaginal rejuvenation, is a plastic surgery procedure that reduces the size of a woman’s labia — the two sets of skin folds surrounding the vagina and urethra.
Why RUSH for your labiaplasty procedure?
RUSH surgeons are committed to working with you to understand your goals and expectations and to providing you with the best options available. Since RUSH began offering labiaplasty services five years ago, they have prioritized compassionate and personalized care. The expert team at RUSH performs 20 to 30 labiaplasty procedures each year, assuring that you will get both experienced and highly individualized treatment.
Who is a good candidate for labiaplasty?
Many patients who are good candidates for labiaplasty surgery don’t like the look or feel of their labia minora (the hairless, inner set of lips right next to the vaginal opening). Some women are born with large or asymmetrical labia minora. Others develop enlarged labia minora after pregnancy, aging or weight gain.
Because this excess tissue may hang down from the groin area, it can become pinched or twisted during certain activities. You may experience the following:
- Pain or irritation during sex
- Pain or soreness while exercising
- Discomfort when wearing snug underwear or bikini bottoms
Some women with enlarged labia minora also have aesthetic or emotional concerns. These include the following:
- Feeling embarrassed or less confident during intimacy
- Feeling self-conscious about wearing tight-fitting yoga pants or leggings
Whatever your concerns, the cosmetic surgery experts at Rush can help. We’ll discuss whether you’re a good candidate for the labiaplasty procedure, address your concerns and help you feel more comfortable and confident.
What happens at your first labiaplasty appointment?
Your initial consultation with a RUSH surgeon will happen in a clinic or outpatient (office) setting. The physician will spend time getting to know you, your history and your expectations around the procedure. Then they will perform an examination of the labia that may seem somewhat similar to what you might expect at a typical OBGYN visit. During this exam, they will be accompanied by a chaperone. After the exam, the physician will have a discussion with you to make sure that your expectations align with what they can offer.
The labiaplasty procedure can be performed in an outpatient setting with local anesthesia (while you’re awake), or in the operating room of the hospital (while asleep or sedated). You and your doctor will discuss which option is right for you based on your comfort level and budget.
How is the Labiaplasty Procedure Performed?
If you opt to have your labiaplasty procedure performed in the hospital, you will be fully sedated and sleep through the surgery.
However, many RUSH patients choose to have their labiaplasty surgery in one of our outpatient clinics around Chicago because it’s less expensive; you won’t have to pay for certain hospital fees, such as anesthesiology services.
If you choose this option, you can rest assured we’ll keep you comfortable during the labiaplasty procedure. We’ll start by applying a topical numbing cream to the labia, then inject a stronger numbing medicine (lidocaine plus epinephrine).
There are two types of labiaplasty surgery, and your surgeon will discuss the best option with you.
Types of Labiaplasty Surgery
- Trim procedure: We remove a predetermined amount of tissue from the outer edges of the labia minora.
- Wedge procedure: We remove a pie-shaped piece of tissue from the center of both lips, then close the incisions with sutures that will dissolve on their own (so they won’t need to be taken out). This leaves the outer edges of the labia minora intact, which usually produces more natural-looking results.
No matter which technique your doctor uses, your labiaplasty procedure should take about two to three hours from start to finish.
What should you expect after surgery?
Your surgeon will recommend postsurgical follow-up care. They will advise you to:
- Keep the surgical area clean, possibly using sanitary pads or ointments
- Wear loose-fitting pants and underwear
- Avoid heavy lifting or strenuous exercise
- Avoid having sex
- Manage pain, possibly with a cold compress or pain medication
Your doctor will give you a complete list of care instructions. Following these instructions will help you heal more quickly, with a lower risk of infection and other complications.
How long does it take to recover from labiaplasty?
It will take about six weeks for post-surgical pain and swelling to go away. Following your doctor’s instructions will help ensure that recovery goes as smoothly and quickly as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions About Labiaplasty
A. Labiaplasty is intended to permanently reduce the size of your labia. Unless you develop complications that require additional surgery, you shouldn’t need to have this procedure again. However, keep in mind that pregnancy and childbirth could affect your results.
A. You may have minor bleeding for the first few days after surgery. You may also experience pain, swelling or bruising that lasts several weeks or longer. Most women are able to return to their normal activities six weeks after their labiaplasty.
A. As with any surgical procedure, labiaplasty comes with a risk of complications. These include prolonged bleeding, scarring, pain and infection of the surgical wound. In some cases, because the labial tissue is so delicate (and can take longer to heal), one of the surgical incisions may reopen. This could require additional stitches or surgery to close or repair the wound.
A. Because labiaplasty is considered cosmetic surgery, your health insurance company will probably not cover it. You should plan to pay for the full cost of the procedure. Before we schedule your labiaplasty, we will give you a price estimate so you can anticipate your out-of-pocket costs. We also offer payment plans for patients who can’t pay the full cost of their procedure up front.
A. While undergoing the labiaplasty procedure, your surgeon will provide anesthesia, and you should only feel numbness at the site of the surgery. As the anesthesia wears off after the procedure, you may feel a degree of pain or discomfort. However, your physician will work with you to manage any pain you are experiencing. They may advise you on how to keep the affected area clean and may provide information on sanitary pads and ointments that will aid recovery and lower the risk of complications. They may also discuss the use of cold compresses and pain medication during the initial days of recovery until any pain resolves. Your physician will work with you to safely reduce pain and recovery time and provide you with the best options available.
A. No, labiaplasty is not the same as vaginoplasty. While both are vaginal rejuvenation procedures, labiaplasty specifically concerns the labia, part of the external genitalia. Vaginoplasty is the construction or reconstruction of the vagina, part of the internal genitalia. RUSH offers labiaplasty procedures but does not currently offer vaginoplasty.