Although cosmetic and medical labiaplasty has been performed since the 1970s, it remains a relatively unknown procedure. Compared to breast augmentation or rhinoplasty, many women may not be aware that there is a surgery to change the appearance of the labia.
At Bajaj Plastic Surgery in Oklahoma City, OK, we understand that the decision to undergo labiaplasty is a personal one, and Dr. Bajaj works closely with each and every patient to determine whether or not they would benefit from the procedure and which technique would be right for her.
Feel free to contact our Oklahoma office today to request a labiaplasty consultation and speak with labiaplasty expert Dr. Anu Bajaj.
What is Labiaplasty?
Labiaplasty is a surgical procedure designed to enhance the appearance and proportions of the labia majora and minora, together known as the vulva. Most commonly, women suffer from labial hypertrophy, which is when either the labia minora or labia majora are enlarged.
Three different techniques can be performed, sometimes in combination, to address labial hypertrophy. These techniques – trim resection, wedge resection, and clitoral hood reduction – can be read about in more detail below. During the consultation, Dr. Bajaj will work with the patient in order to determine the best technique to fit their body and lifestyle. All techniques involve removing a section of tissue from the labia and suturing it back together for a more aesthetically pleasing appearance that will also minimize or eliminate any uncomfortable side effects the patient has suffered due to an enlarged labia.
It is important to note that most women do not require labiaplasty and it is considered an elective procedure. It is normal for the labia to be asymmetrical, and many women with labial hypertrophy will never require surgery or will choose not to pursue surgery. However, other women who suffer from labial hypertrophy may experience some uncomfortable side effects and be good candidates for a labiaplasty procedure.
Labial Hypertrophy Side Effects
When women have an enlarged labia majora or labia minora, they may experience uncomfortable side effects that can be both physically and emotionally painful.
Some of these side effects may include:
- Hygiene issues: Enlarged or unshapely labia may be more difficult to clean and can therefore lead to chronic infections, especially while menstruating or following intercourse.
- Irritation: Enlarged labia can make it difficult to wear clothes that are considered fashionable today, including skinny jeans or leggings. The labia may rub against the patient’s clothing, creating friction and causing discomfort. Furthermore, patients may experience discomfort while riding a bicycle or even just sitting. Intercourse or foreplay can also lead to irritation or discomfort.
- Embarrassment: Enlarged labia can cause embarrassment while wearing tight fitting clothes, such as leggings or a swimsuit, and may cause the patient to avoid certain social situations. Patients may also be so embarrassed by the appearance of their labia that they avoid intimate situations, even with longtime partners.
Not all patients with labial hypertrophy will experience these side effects, including those with only mild labial hypertrophy or labial majora hypertrophy. The labia minora is more sensitive than the labia majora, so the majority of patients who choose to undergo labiaplasty have enlarged labia minora. However, not all vulvas are alike and at Bajaj Plastic Surgery we welcome all patients who are interested in the procedure to come in for a private consultation.
Good Labiaplasty Candidates
Good patients for labiaplasty are nonsmokers who suffer from labial hypertrophy and experience any of the aforementioned side effects, including hygiene issues, irritation, or embarrassment.
There are many reasons why women may have labial hypertrophy. It may be genetic, or it may develop following puberty or pregnancy. In some rare cases, it may also occur due to trauma or injury to the area.
Most often, we recommend that patients wait to undergo labiaplasty until after they have completed puberty. The best way to determine if one is a good candidate for the procedure is by scheduling a consultation with Dr. Bajaj at her office in Oklahoma City, OK where she can create an individualized procedure plan.
There are three different techniques that Dr. Bajaj may perform, sometimes in combination, in order to correct labial hypertrophy.
The trim resection technique may be performed when the labia minora is slightly larger than the labia majora. The trim technique involves removing excess skin from the edges of the labia minora and then sewing the edges closed. It may be recommended for patients who have darker labial edges, as it restores pinkness to the labia minora. However, since the labial edges are naturally irregular, this technique may make the edges of the labia minora appear overly uniform.
The wedge resection technique is the most common technique performed by Dr. Bajaj. A wedge shaped piece of tissue is removed from the labia. The wedge may be removed from the central, anterior, or posterior part of the labia, depending on the patient’s specific case. Unlike the trim resection, the wedge resection will maintain the natural edge of the labia.
Clitoral Hood Reduction
Since the goal of labiaplasty is to make the labia majora and labia minora proportional, clitoral hood reduction is often performed along with the trim or wedge technique to ensure overall harmony. Clitoral hood reduction is the process of removing some of the tissue surrounding the clitoris, which is located just above the labia minora.
Preparing for Surgery
Prior to the surgery date, the patient will be provided with a checklist of items to complete. Some of these may include:
- If the patient smokes, they should quit at least three weeks before the surgery date
- Stop taking anti-inflammatory drugs, including aspirin and ibuprofen, two weeks before surgery
- Pick up any medications that Dr. Bajaj prescribes in a timely manner
- Make arrangements for somebody else to give them a ride home following the procedure
- Shave or wax the pubic area 2-4 days before surgery
A labiaplasty procedure can be performed under local or general anesthesia, depending on the patient’s preference and techniques to be utilized. Prior to surgery, Dr. Bajaj will mark the predetermined incision locations.
Once in the surgical room and after the anesthesia has been administered, Dr. Bajaj will make the appropriate incisions and remove the desired amount of tissue. Then, she will suture the incisions closed and bandage the area properly. The entire procedure typically takes about 1-2 hours. Patients should make arrangements for somebody to drive them home after the surgery.
Swelling from the procedure will lessen over the course of 4-6 weeks, and full recovery from labiaplasty can take 1-2 months. Immediately following the procedure, the patient should also expect some bruising and slight discomfort. Patients will be provided with prescription medications to help ease this discomfort.
For the first few weeks following surgery, patients should keep the area clean and dry. They should not wear any tight fitting clothing and should avoid activities such as bike riding that will cause friction. Sexual activities should be avoided during the first month of recovery.
Dr. Bajaj will provide the patient with a customized recovery plan that will include when they will be allowed to resume activities such as strenuous exercise and intercourse. Dr. Bajaj requires all patients to come in for follow-up appointments after their surgery so that she can make sure that the patient is healing properly.
Prior to scheduling surgery, patients are required to have a consultation with Dr. Bajaj.
During the consultation, Dr. Anu Bajaj will talk to the patient about their concerns with the appearance of their vulva. She will also ask the patient about any physical or emotional discomfort that the patient experiences due to the appearance of their labia. She will then conduct a physical examination to determine whether or not the patient suffers from labia hypertrophy and if they would be a good candidate for labiaplasty.
Labiaplasty is an important procedure that should not be considered lightly. At the time of the consultation, Dr. Bajaj will inform the patient of the risks involved with the surgery. There are risks with any surgery. For labiaplasty, some of the specific risks include bleeding, scarring, or change in sensitivity.
After determining the right technique for the patient, Dr. Bajaj will be able to draw up a personalized procedure plan for the surgery. She will go over all of the details of the surgery with the patient, including customized preparation and recovery information.
At Bajaj Plastic Surgery, we don’t believe that there is ever a “one size fits all” approach to cosmetic surgery. We work closely with the patient, taking into account their anatomy, lifestyle, and goals, to develop a personalized surgical plan. Since labiaplasty is such a highly customizable procedure, with factors including anesthesia and technique, the cost will vary. In order to receive a detailed price quote, please contact Dr. Bajaj at her Oklahoma City, OK office in order to request a consultation and if labiaplasty is right for you!