Self-image is a complicated, and for many people painful, subject — one made more so when the focus of your self-consciousness is one of the most sensitive, and private, parts of your body. It should come as no surprise, then, that many people are unfamiliar with labiaplasty, which is the surgical reshaping of the inner, and sometimes outer, labia.
Vaginal anatomy varies significantly from one woman to another. The size and shape of both inner and outer labia (Latin for lips) can vary by a matter of inches in absolute terms, as well as in relation to each other. Every woman’s vagina is as unique as any fingerprint or snowflake. That knowledge does not stop many women, however, from feeling self-conscious about excessively protruding inner labia, and that self-consciousness can have very significant, very real effects on their quality of life.
Women who are self-conscious about their protruding labia often find themselves avoiding activities, such as swimming, which may require them to undress in front of other women. The embarrassment can, and often does, carry over into the bedroom where it can inhibit romantic relationships. Even on a more prosaic level, particularly large inner labia can make it difficult or impossible to wear certain types of undergarments, or certain fashions entirely.
A labiaplasty can remove all of these problems, restoring a woman’s confidence and ability to enjoy the many aspects of her life that had been previously affected.
A labiaplasty procedure generally takes between one and two hours, and can be performed using either a local anesthetic (sometimes with an oral sedative), heavy sedation, or general anesthetic depending on the specific situation and anxiety level of the patient. It is an outpatient procedure, meaning you can return home the same day and will not be required to stay in the hospital overnight, and although there is often quite a bit of swelling initially, it involves relatively minimal levels of pain.
Recovery time varies quite a bit from patient to patient, depending on your general, age, and natural healing rate, but you should be able to resume unstrenuous activity within 3 to 4 days. You advised not to have sexual intercourse, where tight undergarments, or use tampons for at least four weeks after the procedure at which point you should be, for the most part, completely back to normal.
If you often find yourself embarrassed at the way your labia look, and it is seriously impacting your quality of life, as it does for so many women, book a consultation with Dr. Liu. After an examination and a discussion about your concerns, he will be able to advise you as to whether or not labiaplasty is a viable option for you.
Dr. Perry Liu is a Beverly Hills board certified plastic surgeon. His skills embody the convergence of art and medicine that is the essence of aesthetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. Dr. Liu is graduate of Duke University, and continued on to medical school at Emory University in Atlanta You can find Dr. Perry Liu on Google+.