Labiaplasty (also referred to as labia rejuvenation) is a cosmetic procedure that enhances the appearance of the vaginal lips. Women who have gone through pregnancy or those who have experienced a significant weight loss may have enlarged labia. In addition, some women are born with asymmetrical vaginal lips. Abnormal labia can result in an unsightly appearance, but more importantly, it can cause symptoms such as chronic irritations, discomfort during sex, and yeast or urinary tract infections. Women who are unhappy with the appearance of their labia should not feel anxious or scared. Dr. Paul Critelli, board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon at UT Health East Texas Cosmetic Surgery Center works with patients to create natural results in a private and compassionate setting. In fact, women may find comfort in knowing that labia rejuvenation is one of the fastest growing cosmetic surgeries in the U.S. today.
About The Surgery
Women who are considering labiaplasty should consult with a qualified cosmetic surgeon. In the past, before surgeons improved this procedure, the approach was to remove the excess tissue and skin deformity using an amputation method. Today, skilled surgeons use aesthetic reshaping techniques so that the labia are not only reduced in size, but also the nerves are protected in the process so that sexual feeling is not compromised. A surgeon with experience will preserve the natural color and contour and create a result that looks visually appealing with minimal to no scarring.
The most common approach surgeons take to perform labiaplasty is to use a device known as Iris Scissors. This fine, advanced surgical tool allows the surgeon to reshape the inner folds of the labia. In the process, a clean “V” shaped wedge is made to the vaginal lips, and is removed to reduce the size. The surgeon will carefully work to reshape and reconstruct the lips so that they meet the patient’s aesthetic goals. Dissolvable sutures are used to close the incision.
Labiaplasty typically takes between 1-2 hours to complete, depending on how complex the surgical case is. It is performed under general anesthesia at UT Health Tyler and does not require an overnight stay. Women who undergo labia rejuvenation will need to avoid any activity that may cause swelling and bleeding, such as exercise, sexual activity, douching and the use of tampons. These activities can be resumed slowly around 4-6 weeks post-op. Women find that the results of this procedure look so natural that their self-confidence and self-image are improved drastically.
Labiaplasty is a surgery that is sometimes covered by medical insurance. This is generally the case if the condition is causing problematic symptoms. Schedule an appointment for a customized consultation with Dr. Critelli to determine the cost of your procedure.
OB-GYN or cosmetic surgeon?
When researching the aesthetic surgery market, most patients will find that a large majority of cosmetic surgeons offer labiaplasty. While many OB-GYNs are capable of performing labia rejuvenation, the procedure is most often considered cosmetic. An OB-GYN will be able to surgically remove any excess that exists within the labia; however, a cosmetic surgeon will consider the aesthetics as well. This ensures that scarring is minimal, and that color, contour and symmetry look and feel natural.
Does it cause insensitivity?
As with any surgery, there may be numbness in the vaginal area after the procedure is completed. This is temporary as the skin and vaginal lips heal. In regards to sensitivity, it is important to understand that labia rejuvenation affects, for the most part, the vaginal lips only. Sensitivity is served by the clitoris. A skilled cosmetic surgeon that specializes in labiaplasty will work around this area so that a loss of sensitivity does not occur.
Does it affect intercourse?
Labiaplasty, when performed by a skilled surgeon, will only improve sexual intercourse. In many cases, this is because the excess skin and tissue that may have gotten in the way during sex before will now be removed. The clitoral region will be protected and the sensory nerves preserved so that sexual intercourse is not impacted in a negative way.
Before or after pregnancy?
In most cases, it is recommended that women wait to have labia rejuvenation until after all pregnancies are complete. However, if having enlarged labia is bothersome and causes physical symptoms and emotional hardship, then this surgery can most definitely be performed before a planned pregnancy. If the results of the surgery are compromised due to a post-surgical pregnancy, a second surgery can be discussed.