If you search online for the phrase “vaginal rejuvenation,” you’ll likely get results for many nonsurgical and surgical procedures. Labiaplasty is one of those options, but few people understand what it involves, why women choose it, and what happens after the labiaplasty. At our Roanoke, VA, plastic surgery practice, we provide detailed information about the procedure and recovery so that you know what to expect.
In this blog post, I’ll focus on recovery after labiaplasty because it’s what patients typically have the most questions about during their consultations. First, however, it’s important to understand what the surgery can accomplish.
What Is Labiaplasty?
Labiaplasty can both reshape and reduce the size of the inner labia or outer labia (or both). Some women choose to combine the surgery with nonsurgical treatments that focus on the vaginal tissue.
Even though you may read stories about women undergoing labiaplasty for cosmetic reasons, many patients get the procedure for functional reasons such as relieving pain during intercourse or making it more comfortable to participate in certain exercises. You can learn more about the purposes of labiaplasty and some misconceptions about the procedure in our related blog post.
Surgeons may perform labiaplasty with the patient under a general anesthetic or a local anesthetic with sedation. The type of anesthesia used will affect the initial recovery. In either case, patients return home on the day of the surgery but will need someone to drive them home.
So, what are the questions patients often ask about labiaplasty recovery?
How Long Does Swelling Last?
Swelling is expected after labiaplasty. It gradually resolves on its own after peaking 2 to 3 days after the procedure. It could take a few weeks for the swelling to subside completely. Even if the surgery is only on your labia minora, your labia majora will also swell. Applying an ice pack or a pack of frozen peas to the area helps reduce swelling and ease any discomfort.
Labiaplasty patients can also expect some itching during the first week of healing. If it persists for more than a week, though, you should contact your surgeon’s office to ensure it’s not a sign of a yeast or bacterial infection.
How Long Until I Can Exercise?
Most labiaplasty patients can resume normal activities, such as driving and returning to work, within 3 days of surgery. However, you should plan on postponing any exercise, hiking, or other strenuous activities for 2 to 4 weeks. Friction from your underwear and even the simple movement of walking may cause moderate to severe discomfort or pain for a few days, which is why taking some time off from work is a good idea. If you’re unsure about whether it’s safe to do something, check with your surgeon.
When Is It Safe To Have Sexual Intercourse?
The most important part of the healing process is allowing the incisions to heal completely. Having sex can cause trauma to the area, potentially ruining the results and requiring revision or reconstructive surgery. We recommend postponing sexual intercourse for 6 weeks after a labiaplasty procedure. It’s best to ask your surgeon if it’s safe to have sex, and even then, you and your partner should wait more time if the experience causes any pain.
Are There Tips for Speeding Up Recovery?
As you can probably see from the answers above, minimizing activity during the first week of your recovery is an essential part of a speedy recovery. Manage the swelling with cold compresses and use witch hazel cooling pads to relieve itching. Drinking plenty of water and getting enough sleep before your surgery can also help during the recovery.
Is Stinging Normal During Urination?
Yes, urinating can be painful during the first few days after surgery because urine irritates the incisions. Before your surgery, fill a spray bottle with water and keep it in the bathroom. Squirt water on the incisions as you urinate to dilute the urine and ease the stinging sensation. This also helps clean the area after urinating.
Should I Use Tampons?
Do not use tampons while you’re recovering from labiaplasty. You should use sanitary pads or liners until your surgeon says it’s safe to use tampons.
Will the Labiaplasty Scar Be Noticeable?
During the surgery, surgeons use stitches that typically disappear about a month after the procedure. There are different techniques used during the surgery, so not all incisions are the same. Usually, however, a labiaplasty scar blends well with the wrinkles and folds of the labia minora tissue. Even a gynecologist may not notice the scar during an exam. You can expect the scar tissue to feel a bit firm before it softens after several months.
A labiaplasty is a gratifying and effective procedure with lasting results. If you think a labiaplasty might be right for you, be sure to consult a board-certified plastic surgeon.
Whether you’re thinking about labiaplasty to address a concern or to improve the labia’s appearance, it’s important to choose a board-certified plastic surgeon who’s experienced performing the procedure. Women considering labiaplasty travel from Lynchburg, Lexington, and throughout Virginia to our Roanoke practice. You can contact us using the online form to request a consultation or call us at (540) 776-1600 to schedule an appointment.