What conditions may make a woman a good candidate for labiaplasty?
- Overly large, redundant, elongated or generally unattractive labia.
- Easily visible labia (in underwear or bikinis) that may be embarrassing.
- Tissues that cause frequent or recurring rashes or vulvar irritation (vestibulitis).
- Significant asymmetry of the labial tissues (left to right).
Why do my labia look like this; they never used to?
Although some women develop excessively large labia following puberty,most of the patients that I see with this problem develop them during their pregnancy. Patients who have had multiple pregnancies are particularly susceptible. New moms are prone to develop larger, more redundant labia after pregnancy. This occurs due to changes that their bodies endure during gestation.
What happens to the labia during pregnancy?
Like other body parts, the labia respond to typical hormone fluctuations that occur during pregnancy and immediately following. Labial will increase in size during pregnancy as a result of both increased overall blood volume and increased pelvic pressure.
Blood Volume Increase: A mother’s blood volume will start to increase starting between week 6 and week 8 of the pregnancy, and will reach a maximum volume around week 33. This change is blood volume (an increase of about 30-40%) is an adaptive mechanism to help supply the growing baby and also to prepare the mother for the blood loss that occurs during delivery. However, the increased volume will also work to distend blood vessels that naturally occur in the labia.
Pelvic Pressure Increase: As the baby and uterus grow, they exert an increasing large downward force on the blood vessels in the pelvis, which leads to even further distension and stretching of the labia. This pressure is multiplied even further during delivery for women who deliver vaginally.
Once the body returns to its normal physiological state and size after pregnancy, so too will the labia. However, the labial skin is oftentimes stretched beyond repair resulting in an unattractive, sagging appearance.
How can this be repaired?
Unattractive, over-sized and sagging labia are easily reduced and contoured during a labiaplasty procedure. Labial reduction is a simple, straight-forward out-patient operation that reduces the absolute amount of labial tissue. It also results in a more youthful appearance to the labial contour. Labiaplasty can be performed by itself. It can also occu as part of a Mommy Makeover. Although local anesthetics are used during this procedure, I generally recommend that patients who choose to have labiaplasty performed do so under either intravenous sedation or general anesthesia. In this manner, each patients’ comfort is maximized.
What type of recovery can I expect after labiaplasty?
Labiaplasty is a very well tolerated procedure. Most patients will experience a small amount of swelling at the operative site for several weeks. The scars are hidden and barely perceptible and continue to heal, soften and flatten over the first post-operative year. Immediate post-operative care is focused on keeping the operative area clean. Dr. Brenner uses soft tissue glue (Dermabond) over the repair to help “water-proof” the incision for the first few days after surgery. Exercise regimens are usually stopped completely for the first two weeks after surgery. Full activity, and sexual intercourse, can be re-started about one month after the surgical scars are healed.