If you’ve heard the term “designer vagina surgery” before, then you may already have a good idea what a labiaplasty is. A labiaplasty is one of many types of vaginal rejuvenation surgeries out there that changes the size of the labia minora, or the inner vaginal lips. People do not undergo labiaplasties just for cosmetic reasons, although wanting to improve vaginal appearance and overall self-confidence is definitely a valid enough reason to undergo this surgery. People also undergo labiaplasties for the sake of improving physical discomfort and vaginal hygiene. Finally, some people undergo labiaplasties for the sake of receiving appropriate gender-affirming care.
Below, board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Daneshmand breaks down everything you need to know before undergoing your labiaplasty surgery. Call Silhouette Plastic Surgery Institute at 949-359-8397 to schedule an appointment today.
What is a Labiaplasty?
A labiaplasty is a type of vaginal rejuvenation surgery that changes the size of the labia minora. Meanwhile, a labia majoraplasty is a surgical procedure that changes the size of the labia majora.
In order to fully understand how this surgical procedure works, you should first have a good understanding of the parts of the female genitalia. There is the labia majora, which are the outer vaginal lips that protect the entire vagina and all its parts. The outer lips are the parts covered with pubic hair. Then there is the labia minora, which are the smaller vaginal lips that protect the urethral and vaginal opening. The goal of a labiaplasty is to change the size of the inner labia, or the labia minora.
Different people undergo vaginal surgery for different reasons. Listed below are the most common reasons why people undergo a labiaplasty:
- To remove excess labia minora tissue;
- To enlarge the inner labia, usually with injectable fillers or transferred fat;
- Or to reconstruct male genitalia into female genitalia for gender-affirming purposes.
Common Reasons Why People Get Labiaplasties
You might be reading this and thinking that vaginal rejuvenation surgery is completely unnecessary and purely cosmetic, but this isn’t true. People undergo labiaplasties every day for a wide variety of reasons. The most common reasons may be for physical or medical issues, emotional or cosmetic issues, or for the sake of gender-affirming care.
Physical and Medical Reasons
One of the biggest reasons why people undergo labiaplasty surgery is due to physical discomfort or medical issues.
Large inner lips can cause daily discomfort and irritation while sitting, crossing your legs, exercising, having sex, or even while wearing tight clothing such as yoga pants. Additionally, too much tissue in the vaginal area can harbor bacteria, leading to a variety of women’s health issues such as frequent urinary tract infections (UTI).
In cases like this, a labiaplasty can be the best solution to reduce the labia minora that’s causing discomfort.
Emotional and Cosmetic Reasons
The second most common reason why someone may undergo a labiaplasty is for the sake of their self-esteem and cosmetic appearance. The labia minora may appear asymmetrical on both sides or it may have an unusual shape or length in general.
Now, it’s important to note here that not one vagina looks the same, and that’s okay. Even still, many women with these cosmetic concerns suffer with poor self-confidence and anxiety, especially during sexual intercourse. For most women, sexual arousal is a very mental and emotional thing, and if a part of their body is causing significant emotional distress, their libido and sex life will directly suffer. So improving vaginal appearance for the sake of self-esteem during sexual activity is a very valid reason to undergo this cosmetic procedure.
Lastly, labiaplasty surgery is very common among those seeking gender-affirming care. Plastic surgeons can construct a vagina out of male genitalia. This is frequently known as “bottom surgery.”
How Does Labiaplasty Surgery Work?
Each labiaplasty procedure will involve different surgical techniques depending on why the patient is undergoing the procedure in the first place. There is a reduction procedure, an enlarging procedure, and a gender-affirming procedure, and they all work differently.
You will receive general anesthesia before this type of labiaplasty. Minora reduction is usually performed using one of the following surgical techniques:
- Trim Procedure: If the inner labia is significantly longer than the outer labia, plastic surgeons will just trim the excess labial tissue until it’s shorter or in line with the labia majora.
- Wedge Procedure: During this technique, a surgeon will remove a pie-shaped piece, or a wedge, of excess tissue from one or both sides of the labia minora. The submucosa and the wrinkled edge of the labia remains intact so the surgeon can suture it. This helps to create the most natural possible look.
An enlarging procedure is probably the quickest and easiest type of labiaplasty. In fact, in most cases, it’s an outpatient procedure, meaning you can go home to heal on the same day. After sedating you with general anesthesia, a plastic surgeon will either perform a fat transfer – which is taking fat from one area of the body via liposuction and injecting it into the labia – or inject hyaluronic acid into the labia. Both methods will plump up the vaginal lips.
Male to female bottom surgery is usually the most invasive and extensive type of vaginal reconstructive surgery. Once you’re sedated with general anesthesia, a surgeon will begin reconstructing the penis into inner and outer vaginal lips. Finally, the surgeon will stitch up all incisions and cover the area with surgical dressing.
How Long Does it Take to Heal From a Labiaplasty?
The answer to this question heavily depends on the type of labiaplasty procedure you chose. The enlarging procedure will likely have the shortest recovery time while gender-affirming surgery will have the longest recovery time. Generally, most patients feel fully recovered around six weeks to eight weeks post-op. During this time, you may experience minor bleeding, swelling, pain, soreness, and bruising around the surgical site(s). Be sure to follow your surgeon’s exact instructions regarding post-op hygiene and medications.
Returning to Normal Activities After a Labiaplasty
Most labiaplasty patients can go back to work after about a week of healing at home, depending on the type of surgery they endured. If your job requires lots of physical activity or lifting, you may have to stay home from work longer. Be sure to discuss the specifics of returning to work with your plastic surgeon.
All labiaplasty patients should avoid intense physical activities for at least six weeks, or until your plastic surgeon clears you to do so. Additionally, patients should avoid sexual activity for at least six weeks post-op, or until your plastic surgeon provides clearance. Returning to intense physical exercise or sexual intimacy too soon can lead to torn stitches, infection, and pain.
Labiaplasty Risks and Complications
Just like all cosmetic surgeries, labiaplasties come with their own set of risks and complications including:
- Either too much or too little tissue was removed, leading to unsatisfactory results
- Slow and/or poor wound healing
- Long-term pain during daily activities, exercise, and/or sexual intercourse
- Loss of sexual pleasure and/or vaginal sensitivity
Are Labiaplasty Results Permanent?
While some cosmetic surgeries only provide temporary or semi-temporary results, the results from labiaplasty are permanent. Of course, your entire body (including your vagina) will change as you age and go through hormonal fluctuations, but the shape and size of your labia from your surgery will largely remain the same. Patients who chose the enlarging procedure may find that they need “touch ups” on an occasional basis, but other than that, you can expect to undergo just one labiaplasty in your life.
How Much Does a Labiaplasty Cost?
It’s important to note that cosmetic surgery costs depend on a variety of factors including your geographical location, your plastic surgeon’s experience level, the exact surgical technique you want, etc. You’ll also want to keep in mind that most types of health insurance will not cover the cost of a labiaplasty, unless you can prove that you’re undergoing the surgery for medical reasons.
According to a site called RealSelf – where plastic surgery patients discuss their procedures, results, and experiences – the average cost of a labiaplasty is $4,771. Again, this price tag will vary due to the aforementioned factors, but also due to the type of procedure you choose: reduction, enlarging, or gender-affirming. Be sure to schedule an appointment with Dr. Daneshmand to determine the exact cost of your labiaplasty.
Call Silhouette Plastic Surgery Institute Today
If you’re seeking gender-affirming care or you’re suffering from physical health issues and low self-esteem due to the size of your vaginal lips, a labiaplasty procedure may be the best solution. Dr. Daneshmand at Silhouette Plastic Surgery Institute has more than 30 years of experience performing all sorts of cosmetic surgeries, including labiaplasties. You can trust that he will provide you with the best possible care and cosmetic results. Call 949-359-8397 to schedule an appointment at our Bakersfield clinic today.