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Labiaplasty is a surgical procedure to remove overhanging, drooping labia minora (inner vaginal lips). Excess tissue in the labia minora can be difficult for women, causing pain and discomfort in all types of clothing, irritation during everyday activities and a feeling of self-consciousness in public and intimate settings. A labiaplasty procedure targets that extra tissue to address all of these concerns.
Earlier this year, an article on the ASPS blog discussed how labiaplasty is growing in popularity. It is a safe, effective procedure with both cosmetic and functional benefits. As more women consider having this procedure done, here are four common questions women have about recovery from labiaplasty.
Two common things you might experience in the early recovery period are swelling and itching. In general, swelling after surgery peaks at 2-3 days then subsides gradually over the following weeks. Itching after labiaplasty is common in the first week while everything is healing. It is important to see your surgeon when itching persists, as it could be a sign of a yeast or bacterial infection, or the itching could be an allergic reaction to a medication. After one week the swelling, initial pain after surgery and itching should subside dramatically.
Generally, it is a good idea to minimize activity early on after surgery. Swelling can be managed with cold compresses, while itching and discomfort can be treated with witch hazel cooling pads. That being said, always ask your doctor before you apply anything to the surgical area and be sure to have follow-up visits with your plastic surgeon for assessments of your healing.
During the labiaplasty procedure, plastic surgeons frequently use dissolvable stitches in this location that are typically gone by 3-4 weeks. Often the scar blends in very well into the labia minora tissue, which naturally has multiple wrinkles and folds. It might be so well hidden that your gynecologist may not even notice it. After the stitches dissolve, the scar tissue will become firm before it softens after several months.
Usually, women return to their active lifestyle and fitness routines 2-4 weeks after surgery. It can take 6-8 weeks before the scars are strong enough for you to return to sexual intercourse, but check with your doctor first.
A labiaplasty is a gratifying and effective procedure with lasting results. If you think a labiaplasty might be right for you, be sure to consult a board-certified plastic surgeon.
The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.