Labiaplasty is a surgical procedure on the vaginal area to improve function and aesthetics. It can be done for either purely cosmetic purposes (to make it look different) or to correct health concerns such as painful sexual intercourse and skin irritation associated with excessive vaginal folds or tissue. If you’re unsatisfied with the appearance of your intimate area or want to improve your quality of life by addressing health concerns caused by abnormal vaginal structures, labiaplasty is right for you. However, before undergoing the surgery, there are some things and tips that you should know to ensure a safe and smooth Labiaplasty recovery.
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Why do people get a Labiaplasty?
There are multiple reasons to undergo a Labiaplasty procedure. People may choose to have a labiaplasty if the;
- Labia (vaginal lips) is elongated.
- Labia becomes obvious when wearing tight-fitting clothes.
- person has excess tissue in their vaginal lips that causes physical discomfort or affects their quality of life (e.g. long labia sticks to your leg during physical activity, or protruding labia cause pain when riding a bicycle).
- or if they suffer from low self-esteem due to the appearance of their genitals or its associated discomforts.
During your consultation, your surgeon will assess the condition of your genitals, your health history, and your desired results to create a treatment plan specific to your needs.
Follow your Post Labiaplasty Recovery Instructions
Before you go home, your surgeon will provide specific instructions to lower your risk of complications and achieve the results you desire. By strictly following your instructions you can help prevent infections and complications (see Risks of Surgery)
Labiaplasty Recovery Timeline
Once you come out of your labiaplasty surgery, you will be able to go home.
The inner and outer parts of your labia will be swollen at this time, as a result, you will likely feel significant discomfort. You will also notice that the skin over your clitoris appears to bulge, this is normal and is not a cause for concern.
Furthermore, your surgeon will give you a prescription for pain and anti-inflammatory medications to help reduce your discomfort. Applying an ice compress over the area may also offer temporary relief.
Second and Third Day
During this time, the bleeding should completely stop. You may notice a significant reduction in discomforts but you may still need to use a cold compress. Swelling and skin inflammation are still present at this time and may potentially be worse than your first day.
Furthermore, you may also notice that your underwear or sanitary napkin have blood-tinged drainage. These are normal and are part of the natural healing process. You will need to continue to take your medications and apply ointment to the surgical incisions to reduce discomfort. You will also need to wear loose clothing or underwear to avoid tension on the incision sites.
Day Four and Five
At this point, you can start to engage in light walking exercises around your home. This helps prevent blood clots from forming.
Your genitals will look near normal again but there may still be some swelling. The pain will likely still be present however it is tolerable and you can manage it with medications and ice compresses. You should continue to clean the surgical area as your surgeon suggests.
Please note, you may sometimes experience itching around the stitches but this is normal. You can manage this by soaking the area in warm water.
If your surgeon used non-dissolvable stitches to close the incision sites, you may need to return for the removal of the stitches after 7 days. You may notice significant healing of the surgical sites during this time. Whilst, you may still have some pain and discomfort they are now very tolerable in comparison to the previous postoperative days. That being said, you will still need to refrain from sexual intercourse.
By the second week, the swelling should significantly subside. You should continue with light walking exercises and cold compress if discomforts are still present. Avoid anything too strenuous, such as running, going to the gym, and any activities that require heavy lifting. You may notice a gelatinous fluid discharge from your wound but this is normal.
During your third week, you will be able to move around the house with less discomfort. You’ll notice a significant reduction in sensitivity and tenderness. Aside from light walking exercises, you can engage in other less strenuous activities 3 weeks after your surgery.
After the first month, you can resume your daily activities and exercise routine. The sensation in your genitals should return to normal. However, you will need to wait a few more weeks before engaging in vaginal sexual intercourse.
Labiaplasty Recovery FAQs
How painful is labiaplasty recovery?
- The surgery will require general anaesthesia so you won’t feel anything during the procedure.
- Any discomfort or pain that you may experience after labiaplasty can be easily controlled with medications. Some of them will usually resolve after a few days of rest.
- Although the procedure repairs the sensitive and delicate part of your body, the pain that you will feel once the anaesthesia wears off is tolerable and can be minimized with medications.
How long does it take to heal after labiaplasty?
- You will need to wait at least 6 weeks to fully recover from the surgery. During this time, you can gradually resume your activities of daily living.
- It is important to keep in mind that the downtime following labiaplasty may vary from patient to patient.
- This will depend on a wide array of factors such as your;
- Desired results
- The condition of your genitals
- How you care for your body after the surgery
- And, your ability to heal.
How can I recover faster from labiaplasty?
- To speed up your recovery from the surgery, make sure to adhere to the following:
- Always maintain good hygiene.
- Apply a cold compress over the operated area to minimize pain and discomfort.
- Arrange for someone to help you with the house chores.
- smoking and alcoholic beverages.
- strenuous exercises
- activities that require heavy lifting.
- blood-thinning medications.
- Clean the surgical site.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet.
- Get proper rest.
- Stay hydrated.
- Stay patient and maintain a positive outlook.
- Take your prescribed medications on time.
- Use absorbable pads.
Will I lose feeling if I have a labiaplasty?
- As with any plastic surgery, you may experience a feeling of numbness in your genitals after a labiaplasty.
- However, this is only temporary and should resolve in a short amount of time.
- After you have completely healed, you should experience an increase in sexual sensation due to the removal of the excess skin and tissue from your genitals.
Can you be awake during labiaplasty?
- Yes, you will be awake if the procedure is performed under local anaesthetic.
- An hour before labiaplasty, a numbing cream will be applied to your genital region.
- Once it has taken effect, a local anaesthetic will then be injected to minimize pain and discomfort associated with the procedure.
How long after labiaplasty can you wear jeans?
- After the surgery, you will need to avoid wearing jeans and tight undergarments or clothing for six to eight weeks.
- During this time, you will only wear loose clothing to prevent irritation of the vaginal structures.
How long does it take for labiaplasty stitches to dissolve?
- During the labiaplasty procedure, your surgeon will use dissolvable stitches to close the incision sites. After three to four weeks, the stitches will dissolve on their own.
Who is a good candidate for labiaplasty?
- Not all who want to improve the appearance of their genitals or those who are experiencing health concerns due to excess vaginal folds can have the surgery. You are a good candidate for labiaplasty if you;
- Are willing to follow post-operative instructions.
- Don’t have a bleeding disorder or any medical condition that can delay healing.
- Don’t smoke.
- Have a complete understanding of the risks and complications associated with the surgery.
- Are in good physical and mental health.
- Have realistic expectations and a positive outlook.
What are the causes of abnormal structures in your genitals?
- Childbirth, genetics, and hormone changes can cause your genitals to develop excess vaginal folds.
What are the different methods of performing labiaplasty?
- Your treatment plan will depend on your overall condition and desired results.
- During labiaplasty, your surgeon can use one of the following methods to improve the appearance of your genitals;
- Trim Method – This method removes excess tissue in your genitals by trimming its outer edges.
- Wedge method – This method involves the removal of a V-shaped tissue from both sides of your inner labial folds.
How long will the results of labiaplasty last?
- The results of this surgical procedure can last for several years.
- You can enjoy a significant reduction in physical discomforts for years to come.
- However, you should keep in mind that the surgery cannot stop the effects of ageing on your body.
- You may need another surgery in the future to maintain your results.
When can you resume sexual intercourse after labiaplasty?
- It is recommended to avoid vaginal sexual intercourse for 6 to 8 weeks to allow the operated area to fully heal.
Medical Benefits of Labiaplasty
Improves Sexual Function
Studies show that removing excess vaginal folds through labiaplasty can help improve sexual function.
A study evaluated the effects of labiaplasty on sexually active patients.  In this study, 24 subjects were divided into two groups: 1. Subjects who had labiaplasty; 2. Subjects who received no intervention. Both groups were then instructed to answer questionnaires assessing sexual function. Researchers observed a significant improvement in sexual function as evidenced by improved scores in the Female Sexual Function Questionnaire in the pain and enjoyment domains in subjects who had labiaplasty.
A study determined the psychosexual outcome after labiaplasty in a group of women.  The subjects were assessed before, 3 months after, and between 11 and 42 months after the surgery. Researchers reported that 96% of the subjects had reliable and clinically significant improvement in sexual functioning as well the appearance of their genitals.
A group of women who had labia minora and clitoral hood reduction was enrolled in a study.  Subjects underwent sensitivity testing at baseline, 2 weeks, and 3, 6, and 12 months after labiaplasty. They also answered the Sexual Function Questionnaire before and after the surgery. At 6 months, the subjects had an increase in the number of sexual relations and orgasm strength, and improvement in orgasm frequency.
Improves Quality of Life
Evidence also suggests that labiaplasty can help improve quality of life through its positive impact on self-esteem and genital health.
In one study, 62 patients (17 to 61 years) undergoing labiaplasty completed written surveys before and after the surgery regarding physical and appearance-related symptoms.  Most patients had a trim labiaplasty and the rest had a wedge. After the surgery, the subjects had significant improvements in self-consciousness, self-esteem, intimacy, symptoms of excess vaginal folds, and overall quality of life, without any complications.
In another study, 48 adult women who had undergone a labiaplasty procedure completed an online questionnaire assessing satisfaction, genital appearance, sexual function, and psychological well-being.  Most of the subjects were very satisfied with the appearance of their genitals and reported improvements in sexual satisfaction and psychological well-being. In addition, the researchers observed a lower rate of complications associated with the surgery.
Finally, a study evaluated 29 adult Australian women who underwent labia minora reduction and 22 women who did not undergo labiaplasty.  Both groups were instructed to complete a baseline questionnaire and a follow-up questionnaire 6 months after the surgery. These questionnaires assess the subjects’ genital appearance satisfaction, sexual confidence, relationship satisfaction, self-esteem, psychological distress, and life satisfaction. Results of the study showed that the subjects were satisfied with the aesthetic, functional, and overall outcome of the surgery.
References for Labiaplasty Recovery
- Turini T, Weck Roxo AC, Serra-Guimarães F, Abreu ML, de Castro CC, Aboudib JH, Nahas FX. The Impact of Labiaplasty on Sexuality. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2018 Jan;141(1):87-92. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000003921. PMID: 29280868.
- Veale D, Naismith I, Eshkevari E, Ellison N, Costa A, Robinson D, Abeywickrama L, Kavouni A, Cardozo L. Psychosexual outcome after labiaplasty: a prospective case-comparison study. Int Urogynecol J. 2014 Jun;25(6):831-9. doi: 10.1007/s00192-013-2297-2. Epub 2014 Jan 22. PMID: 24448726.
- Placik OJ, Arkins JP. A Prospective Evaluation of Female External Genitalia Sensitivity to Pressure following Labia Minora Reduction and Clitoral Hood Reduction. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2015 Oct;136(4):442e-452e. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000001573. PMID: 26397263.
- Sorice-Virk S, Li AY, Canales FL, Furnas HJ. Comparison of Patient Symptomatology before and after Labiaplasty. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2020 Sep;146(3):526-536. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000007081. PMID: 32842103.
- Sharp G, Tiggemann M, Mattiske J. A Retrospective Study of the Psychological Outcomes of Labiaplasty. Aesthet Surg J. 2017 Mar 1;37(3):324-331. doi: 10.1093/asj/sjw190. PMID: 28207030.
- Sharp G, Tiggemann M, Mattiske J. Psychological Outcomes of Labiaplasty: A Prospective Study. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2016 Dec;138(6):1202-1209. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000002751. PMID: 27879587.
Dr Patrick Briggs
Specialist Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery Clinic in Melbourne
Dr Patrick Briggs is a Specialist Plastic and Cosmetic Surgeon and his team are dedicated to excellence in patient care and are committed to treating each and every patient with respect and privacy.
Dr Patrick Briggs offers high quality, natural-looking plastic and cosmetic surgery results and is experienced in Breast, Body and Face Surgery having performed over 4500 Surgeries in private practice. Dr Patrick Briggs is an expert in breast, face and body surgery for men and women.
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What to Bring to Your Consultation
- If you like, please bring a friend or relative to help discuss the information and your choices.
- Take a lot of notes and thoroughly examine the documents your surgeon provides.
- You may need to undress so it’s a good idea to wear simple clothes.
How to Book a Consultation
*Disclaimer: Individual results can vary significantly from patient to patient. The information we provide is general information only. For further information on what to expect for your preferred procedures, arrange to see one of our Specialist Plastic Surgeons for a full history and surgical consultation.