Labiaplasty: The Procedure No One is Talking About.
Even in this day and age, where transparency, self-love & body awareness seem front and center,
there are some topics that still feel too personal to discuss. Sure, we feel comfortable discussing our “Lady Parts” (as my husband would call them) in terms of their function. We complain about our periods, talk in our parenting groups about how sex changes after a vaginal delivery, and complain to our friends about how activities like jumping rope or trampolines are a no-go after having kids. Yet, we seem to remain relatively hush hush about the appearance of our Lady Parts and, most importantly, how much it can negatively impact our confidence and self-image. Deviations from the “ideal” image we set of external genitalia can be for any number of reasons-- genetics, trauma, pregnancy and birth, or as a consequence of age and menopause. Hence, the ideal candidate for a Labiaplasty spans a wide range of ages and demographics. With how common this topic is thought about by women, it’s imperative to begin opening this dialogue amongst each other and with your Plastic Surgeon to discuss what can be done about it.
Anatomy of the Lady Parts:
It seems important to quickly review the pertinent anatomy we are discussing when talking about a Labiaplasty. In the vaginal area, you have the Labia Majora, which are the hair bearing skin folds on the outermost aspect of the vagina. The innermost lips of the vagina are referred to as the Labia Minora. As the Labia Minora extends anteriorly, they coalesce in the midline to form the Clitoral Hood. The Clitoral Hood (just as it sounds) is the covering for the Clitoris. When we look at the vagina from a standing position, we generally expect that the Labia Minora will be tucked nicely within the Labia Majora. If the Labia Minora skin is stretched out, redundant or loses elasticity, it may begin to stretch below the level of the Labia Majora--making it more visible (either naked or in tight clothing) and predisposing the patient to potential discomfort and insecurity.
What is a Labiaplasty?
Labiaplasty is a relatively straightforward surgical procedure performed in order to remove redundant tissue from the Labia Minora. Sometimes, removal of skin and tissue from the clitoral hood and the Labia Majora are also indicated. A Labiaplasty does not, however, tighten the vagina itself (that’s an entirely different surgical procedure). There are traditionally two ways to perform a Labiaplasty which can differ depending on which surgeon you choose. There’s a Wedge procedure which, just like it sounds, involves removing a wedge of extra tissue in the center of the Labia Minora flap. Picture a half a pizza--this is your Labia Minora. In a Wedge procedure, your surgeon is removing the central piece of pizza to take that large pizza down to a medium. The alternative procedure is called a Labial Trim. Also just like it sounds, this surgical procedure involves simply trimming the excess Labial tissue which hangs below the Labia Majora. Using my pizza analogy, this is like trimming the crust off your half a pizza to make it smaller. Either procedure will successfully remove extra skin, tighten the area, and help tuck the Labia Minora nicely within the Labia Majora.
What to Expect:
A Labiaplasty is generally performed using both a sedative (oral or IV medications) to make the patient comfortable in conjunction with a local anesthetic injection to help with localized pain control. The procedure will take about an hour to perform and, once comfortable afterwards, the patient will be discharged home with a pad for any spotting afterwards. Most women prefer to take a couple days off work, and tampons, sex and rigorous activity should be avoided in the first few weeks after the procedure.
Wondering if a Labiaplasty is right for you or simply want to know more? Schedule your consultation with Dr. Megan today by calling 425-776-0880 or click on the link below to fill out a contact form.