What is Labiaplasty?

What is Labiaplasty?

Labiaplasty is simply the surgical repair of the labia major (outer lip), also known as the labia majora, or the labia minor (inner lip) located just below the outer lips. Labium minors, ie inner lips, do not contain fat and hair cells, are not visible from the outside because they are located under the labium major, and are rich in blood vessels and nerve endings, constantly moist structures. The inner lips are of two pieces and are folded together in the form of a pleat on the clitoris. Anatomically, the outer lips cover the inner lips, that is, they are not noticeable at the external examination because the inner lips are located under the outer lips. one

When it comes to labiaplasty, what is meant mostly is the removal of the defects related to the inner lips rather than the outer lips. Labia minora being larger than normal or sagging due to various reasons are among the most common genital aesthetic problems. During labioplasty, excess tissue in the overgrown or sagging inner lips is removed by the specialist physician and the labia are reshaped.

The demand for aesthetic gynecology is increasing day by day by both physicians and patients 2 . Labiaplasty is one of the most common genital aesthetic operations today. There is no national or international medical guideline that sheds light on the conditions under which surgical intervention should be performed except for the enlargement of the labia majora (hypertrophy) to a medical necessity. Patients who prefer genital aesthetic surgery state that they receive medical help due to aesthetic concerns and decrease in sexual satisfaction. 3  American Society of Aesthetic Surgery (ASAP) The number of people who applied cosmetic surgery labiaplasty last 5 years, according to statistics published in 2017 showed an increase of 217.3% .4 In the early 1980s, labiaplasty and other genital aesthetic surgeries, which were preferred only by celebrities, started to be preferred by women in our country as sexual problems were not taboo.

Why is labiaplasty applied?

Labiaplasty is considered a medical necessity in cases where hypertrophy (excessive growth) of the inner lips causes recurrent vaginal and urinary infections, irritation and painful sexual intercourse (dyspareunia) and restriction in movements despite treatment. 5,6 

The inner lips, which are structurally normal in size, sag due to multiple births, traumas during vaginal delivery, hormonal changes due to menopause, rapid weight gain and other reasons, and the outer lips become unable to completely cover the inner lips. In women who have never given birth and whose labia minor are of normal size, sagging can be seen due to the decrease in subcutaneous fat tissue with the advancement of age. In some women, one or both of the inner lips of the vagina is structurally (genetic feature) larger than normal and creates an asymmetrical appearance.

For whatever reason, sagging may cause a person to feel bad and lose self-confidence by creating an aesthetically unpleasant appearance when exceeding acceptable dimensions. Even if there is no medical requirement, this can negatively affect the person’s life in various ways. For example, when the sagging of the inner lips becomes advanced, it may prevent wearing swimsuits, bikinis or tight clothes. It can affect the business life of women from professional groups related to sports and performing arts, especially in which physical appearance is prominent, and may cause loss of self-confidence and decrease in quality of life by affecting the sexual life of all women.

Who can be applied labiaplasty?

It can be applied if the sagging of the inner vaginal lips has reached a level that will negatively affect the quality of life of the person or in cases where labiaplasty becomes a medical requirement. If deemed appropriate by the physician, it can be applied to adult women of all ages who do not have any other disease that prevents surgical intervention. It can be applied for sagging formed after birth, and women who have never given birth can be candidates for labiaplasty as an examination to regain their self-confidence.

How and where is labiaplasty performed?

Labiaplasty is a procedure that should be performed only by a specialist physician and in a hospital environment and where sterility is important. First of all, your specialist physician will evaluate whether you are a suitable candidate for labiaplasty. If you are found suitable, your physician will inform you about the details of the procedure and what to do after the procedure. For the procedure, which is usually performed under local anesthesia, your physician may sometimes find general anesthesia appropriate. Although the duration of the operation varies from patient to patient, it takes 30-60 minutes on average. Since anesthesia is applied during the procedure, no pain is felt.

What awaits you after labiaplasty?

  • Post-procedure complications are usually not seen. Complications such as infection, tissue damage, and bleeding are possible complications after all surgical procedures. For this reason, labiaplasty must be applied by a specialist physician under sterile conditions and in health institutions with the necessary equipment.
  • Post-operative bleeding is not expected, rarely, only a slight bleeding in the form of leakage and spotting on the suture line can be seen.
  • In the first days after surgery, the vulva may be swollen, red and sensitive due to edema. Cold compress application as recommended by your physician is provided to remove edema in the area.
  • Since the labia are a region rich in blood supply, wound healing is completed quickly.
  • Sutures in the area are absorbed or fall off within 10-15 days depending on the type of suture material used.
  • You may have pain after the procedure and your doctor may recommend pain relief.
  • Although it varies from patient to patient, you can usually return to work a few days after the procedure.
  • If there is no complication, it takes an average of 30 days to heal the area under normal conditions.

During the recovery period, maximum attention should be paid to hygiene and for 4 weeks until the full recovery of the area;

  • Your dressings should be done as often as recommended by your physician.
  • From sports such as yoga and pilates that will cause stress in the area,
  • Sports that cause pressure in the area such as horse riding and cycling should be avoided.
  • Toilet cleaning should be done from front to back during this period as always.
  • In order to prevent the risk of infection, you should not enter the pool, bath, sea, jacuzzi for the period recommended by your doctor, and standing shower should be preferred instead of bathing in the bathtub. Generally, your doctor will allow you to take a standing shower from the first day.
  • Sexual intercourse should be avoided for 4 weeks until full recovery is achieved.
  • Again, applications such as epilation and waxing should not be applied to the area until full recovery is achieved.

Frequently asked questions about labiaplasty

DOES LABIAPLASTY PREVENT DELIVERY?

Labiaplasty is not a procedure that affects the birth canal, it does not affect vaginal (normal) delivery or cesarean operation.

WILL THERE BE ANY STITCH MARKS LEFT AFTER LABIAPLASTY?

After the operation performed by an experienced and expert physician, there are no stitch marks left and it is not understood that you have undergone this operation.

WILL THERE BE SAGGING IN THE INNER LIPS AFTER LABIAPLASTY?

In the area where the excess tissue is removed after the surgery, there is no re-tissue growth and sagging.

CAN LABIAPLASTY BE APPLIED TO WOMEN WHO ARE NOT SEXUALLY ACTIVE?

Since the hymen is located inside the vagina, it is not damaged during the procedure, the procedure is suitable for people who are not sexually active.

IS THERE AN AGE LIMIT FOR LABIAPLASTY?

There is no age restriction, it can be applied to people whose quality of life is impaired due to sagging of the inner lips or for whom surgery has become a medical necessity as a result of excessive sagging of the inner lips, if deemed appropriate by the physician. The procedure can be applied to adult women of all ages who are over the age of 18, married or single, given birth or not.

Like any surgical intervention, labiaplasty should be performed by specialist physicians in healthcare institutions that have the necessary technological equipment and care for patient privacy and patient rights. By making an appointment with your doctor, you can come for control and improve your quality of life.