Labiaplasty is a surgical procedure that resizes or reshapes the female external genitalia. You may want this surgery because you have physical discomfort in the area or for aesthetic reasons.
In this article we discuss the recovery timeline and aftercare so you get an idea of what to expect after a labiaplasty.
Labiaplasty Recovery Stages
How long labiaplasty recovery takes depends on you as an individual.
The following is a rough timeline of the recovery stages you can expect after labiaplasty surgery.
Immediately After Surgery
Immediately after surgery there will be an intermediate level of discomfort and pain for at least 48 hours.
During this time it is important to avoid doing anything physical and you should spend at least the first few days resting completely.
You may also notice some bloodstains on your underwear in the first few days. This is normal immediately following surgery.
Also, your surgeon will tell you when you can take your first shower after the operation. This could be either the next day, or on the second or third day.
First Week of Recovery
During your first week of recovery, the pain should start to subside.
When managing discomfort after a labiaplasty, you can reduce the pain and risk of infection by:
- Icing the area with cold compacts. Do not apply ice directly to the skin. Wrap it in a towel before applying.
- Elevating your hips using a pillow or a rolled up towel for at least the first 48 hours to minimise swelling.
- Using a spray bottle to clean the area while still sitting on the toilet or cleansing the area while showering.
You may recover enough by the end of the first week to go back to work if your job does not require strenuous activity. Make sure your surgeon gives you clearance to return to work and to start doing other activities that are not too strenuous. Keep in mind that there will still be swelling in the area and some sitting positions may be uncomfortable.
By the end of the first week, you should be almost finished your pain medications but continue taking them if you need to. Also continue taking any antifungal and antibiotics as directed by your surgeon.
During this time you may start experiencing itchiness which is a sign your body is healing. This is common as you will already know when cuts or scabs on other parts of your body start to itch as they heal. It is important to refrain from scratching the site for you can risk opening up your wounds or introducing bacteria that could cause an infection.
Second Week of Recovery
In the second week of recovery, it starts to get easier. The first week of healing is always the hardest.
The pain and discomfort will continue to subside but there will still be swelling.
Do not do anything strenuous and continue to cleanse the area properly. You should also be able to go back to work and resume non strenuous activities at the end of the second week if you could not after the first week.
Third Week of Recovery
In the third week, you are likely to have a follow-up appointment with your surgeon to check how well you are recovering.
The discomfort and pain should be almost gone so you can start resuming your normal daily activities. You can do low impact exercises such as tai chi and walking, but you will still have to refrain from more strenuous activities such as swimming, running and cycling, as well as sexual activity and the use of tampons.
By the third or fourth week you may notice the stitches start to change as they dissolve.
Four to Six Weeks Post Labiaplasty Surgery
At six weeks, you can usually return to life as it was before your surgery. You can do strenuous exercises and resume sexual intercourse.
The first time you have sex, take it slowly. It is likely to feel different as you adjust to the new shape or length of your labia. If there is a burning sensation, bleeding, stinging or there is any other discomfort during sexual activity, stop straight away. See your doctor about the symptoms you experienced to determine the cause.
Swelling in the area can persist for weeks and even months after surgery.
After surgery, your specialist plastic surgeon will give you post-operative instructions so you can care for the surgical site properly.
As part of labiaplasty aftercare:
- Use water to gently clean the area while showering. Pat the area dry and dress the area with clean dressings. Avoid using chemicals and rubbing the wound.
- Your surgeon may prescribe an antibiotic cream or gel to apply after cleaning the area. This will help to relieve the pain and soften the stitches. Make sure you only use what your surgeon prescribes because using commercial ointments that contain chemicals can cause irritation.
- Use a padded cushion that has an indent in the centre to make sitting more comfortable.
- Wear cotton underwear and loose clothing while recovering to avoid irritating the wound.
- Only commence activities as outlined in your recovery plan.
- Talk to your surgeon about pain relief and only take it as directed.
- Make sure you eat properly. Drink water and eat fruit and vegetables as well as protein. Avoid alcohol and limit your sugar and caffeine intake.
For more information about labiaplasty surgery, schedule a consultation with Dr Robert Knight at Pure Aesthetics today.