Women may have enlarged labia for various reasons, such as genetic predisposition, childbirth, aging, and hormonal changes. While labia’s come in all shapes and sizes, and there’s nothing wrong with an enlarged labia, it may nevertheless lead to self-consciousness, physical discomfort (in some situations), and emotional problems.

An enlarged labia can lead to certain functional problems, such as hygiene issues, urinary tract infections, irritation while wearing tight-fitting clothes, and changes in sensation during sexual activities. Furthermore, an enlarged labia may be visible through yoga pants, swimsuits, and other body-fitting clothes. Some women also feel self-conscious about their enlarged labia during intimacy with partners.

Labiaplasty is a surgical procedure suitable for women who identify with the aforementioned problems. This article provides an overview of labiaplasty, how it differs from vaginal rejuvenation, and what you can expect from the procedure and recovery.

Is labiaplasty the same as vaginal rejuvenation?

No. Labiaplasty and vaginal rejuvenation aren’t the same.

The term “vaginal rejuvenation” refers to a wide range of surgical and non-surgical procedures that address cosmetic concerns related to the female genitalia. It often includes laser devices, radiofrequency, ultrasound techniques, and other rejuvenation procedures to tighten the vaginal canal, facilitate vaginal lubrication, and treat incontinence.

The medical devices used for vaginal rejuvenation aren’t always backed by clinical studies. As such, the results from vaginal rejuvenation are inconsistent and unpredictable.

Labiaplasty, however, is a tried-and-tested surgical procedure aimed at the labia. The procedure decreases the size of the labia minora, the inner folds of the genitalia, to facilitate its alignment with the labia majora. However, this can be achieved through numerous surgical techniques — the surgeon will discuss your options during your consultation.

How is labiaplasty performed?

Labiaplasty is performed as a hospital procedure under local anesthesia or general anesthesia, depending on the surgical techniques used.

The procedure’s ultimate goal is to balance the labia minora and labia majora to achieve the optimal cosmetic appearance and minimize functional discomfort. To achieve that goal, the procedure may involve removing excess tissues from the labia minora, reducing the labia majora or mons pubis via liposuction, or enhancing the labia majora via fat grafting.

The following are the most common techniques used during labiaplasty:

  • Trim Procedure: The surgeon removes excess tissues from the labia minora to make it symmetrical with the labia major.
  • Wedge Procedure: The surgeon removes a wedge from the thickest part of the labia minora, leaving the tissues under the mucous membrane intact.
  • Fat Grafting Procedure: The surgeon removes fat cells from other parts of the body and injects them into the mons pubis or labia majora. This is done to reverse the sagginess of the labia major.

What’s the recovery process like after labiaplasty?

Labiaplasty is performed as an in-office procedure that concludes within 1.5 – 2 hours, following which you can have someone drive you home. The incisions are stitched with dissolvable sutures, so there’s no need for a follow-up to have them removed. You’ll have to wear light dressings for a few days to aid the recovery process.

You can reduce post-treatment discomfort with over-the-counter pain medications. You’ll be asked to wear tight underpants and cool packs to reduce post-treatment swelling and puffiness, and a pad can be worn to control post-treatment bleeding (mild). You may also need to apply an antibiotic ointment to prevent the risk of infections.

To aid the healing process, you should avoid excessive sweating, sexual activities, and strenuous workouts for up to 6 weeks. You can resume work after one week, but only if you have a comfortable desk job that doesn’t involve physical exertion. You can gradually increase your activity levels after a week according to your comfort.

Labiaplasty is a safe procedure that improves your confidence, comfort, and quality of life. However, like all surgeries, it involves the inherent risks of infections, allergic reactions, anesthesia problems, and delayed wound healing. Please consult a reliable surgeon with a proven track record to avoid the risks and ensure an optimal outcome.