The vaginal lips are also referred to as labia. A labia deformity, such as enlarged and asymmetrical vaginal lips, can be the result of excessive pressure and stretching from pregnancy, childbirth and weight loss. Labia rejuvenation (known as labiaplasty) is one of the most effective cosmetic surgeries that can help restore a natural, aesthetically appealing look to the labia. Oklahoma City plastic surgeon, Dr. Clinton Webster, performs labiaplasty, which not only helps create a better appearance, but also helps relieve chronic irritations, discomfort during sex, UTIs, and a bulging appearance that can be caused by the deformity.
Before aesthetic surgeons improved the labiaplasty procedure, the approach was to amputate the excess skin and fold deformity. This approach led to numerous complications including scarring and sensory nerve damage. It is important to find a skilled labiaplasty surgeon who understands that this cosmetic surgery requires some reconstructive processes. Qualified surgeons will be able to incorporate the latest reshaping techniques so that it not only reduces the size, but also preserves most of the natural contour, color and sensitivity of the labia with minimal scarring.
Labiaplasty can be performed a couple of different ways. One technique uses surgical tools to reshape the inner folds of the labia so they no longer protrude. Essentially, it creates a contoured “V” shape wedge that is removed in order to reduce the size. The remaining edges are sewn with absorbable sutures for a natural appearance. Another technique is one that uses a laser to trim and reshape the labia. This is known medically as “laser labial rejuvenation”. While this approach is effective, it is generally more suitable for smaller skin defects of the labia.
Labiaplasty is performed under general anesthesia at an accredited surgical facility. It is considered an outpatient procedure. In surgical cases where a smaller defect exists, a local anesthesia may be used. The entire surgery typically takes 1-2 hours to complete. Following this surgery, women should rest and avoid any activities that will result in additional swelling and discomfort. Vigorous exercise, vaginal intercourse, the use of tampons and douching should be avoided for 4-6 weeks. The incisions made during surgery are minimal. In most cases, the scarring will be almost undetectable.
Many OBGYNs are capable of performing labiaplasty. However, this procedure is considered a cosmetic surgery. There is more to the technique than just removing the deformity. Aesthetic issues, such as scarring, symmetry, pigmentation and shape, play an important role. For these reasons, a cosmetic surgeon is sometimes the better choice to correct this condition.
This procedure does not impact sexual intercourse in a negative way. If anything, labiaplasty helps to restore any lost sensation because it removes excess skin and tissue blocking the vaginal opening and clitoris. A knowledgeable surgeon will avoid placing incisions near the clitoral region and will carefully work to protect and preserve the sensory nerves.
It is recommended that women wait to have labiaplasty until after childbearing is complete. If the labia deformity cannot wait until after a pregnancy, the patient will need to understand that the surgical results may be compromised by a later pregnancy. It is important to discuss any pregnancy plans with your cosmetic surgeon so that a pre- and post-pregnancy surgical plan can be put into place.