Women opt for vaginal plastic surgery for a variety of reasons, including pain from twisting and tugging of the labia when riding a bike or during intercourse, itching, irritation and self-consciousness. At the Zelken Institute, we are committed to helping you improve your overall quality of life.
A labiaplasty may be performed to reduce asymmetry when one labia is longer than the other, or, more commonly, to reduce the length of both labia so that the labia no longer twist, tug or fall out of a bathing suit.
The term labiaplasty refers to a procedure that reduces the length of the labia minora. The goal of the procedure is to reduce the labia minora so that they don’t hang below the hair-bearing labia majora. It is the most commonly performed vaginal rejuvenation procedure and it can relieve symptoms women experience from twisting and tugging of the labia. It can also enhance the appearance of the vulva in women who feel self-conscious about asymmetries or excess skin. Many women choose to see a gynecologist for this procedure, but plastic surgeons are fully trained in the procedure and can even combine it with other treatments.
Labiaplasty is most commonly performed by plastic surgeons and gynecologists. Although other specialties offer the procedure, we encourage women to carefully consider the qualifications of their provider. Plastic surgeons tend to be more artful with the labiaplasty, recreating natural contours and hiding incisions. Traditional methods merely directly excise loose tissue. This can lead to visible scarring and pain.
Of course, a board-certified plastic surgeon is the gold standard. Plastic surgeons undergo more surgical training than any other specialty. In addition, plastic surgeons can provide this procedure with other surgeries like tummy tuck and mommy makeover. At the Zelken Institute, we also offer laser tightening of the vagina and hormone replacement therapy.
The most common type of labiaplasty is the trim procedure, in which the extra tissue is removed and sewn up directly. Dr. Zelken feels this is hasty and risks visible scarring and pain. Instead, Dr. Zelken follows the teachings of Gary Alter, MD and takes a wedge of tissue to better hide the scar and tighten the vagina. Extra folds of the clitoral hood can also be reduced at the same time. Closure is usually done with absorbable sutures.
Dr. Zelken is very down to earth, personable and great correspondence skills, truly a reflection on his love for his profession.
The risks associated with labiaplasty include those of most surgical procedures, including bleeding, hematoma and infection. The most common complication is over-resection. While some women desire an aggressive reduction, this can result in chronic dryness, scarring at or near the vaginal opening and pain with intercourse. Healing problems are more likely to occur with a wedge procedure, particularly if the patient is exposed to substances that cause blood vessels to shrink.
Labiaplasty is a procedure that can be done under either local anesthesia with oral sedation or under general anesthesia.
Most patients take a week off from work, during which they can reduce swelling and pain by icing with a cold pack sandwiched between the patient's underpants and an elastic garment, like Spanx. This can be done "twenty minutes on, twenty minutes off." The patient can also lie with her bottom elevated to reduce swelling.
Patients can resume wearing tampons or having intercourse after four to six weeks. Trim labiaplasty generally allows for a quicker recovery.
While the most distorting swelling is gone by 6 weeks, residual swelling may take six months to disappear.
Labiaplasty typically results in shorter labia that no longer hang down below the level of the hair-bearing labia majora. Most patients who experienced symptoms from twisting and tugging of their labia generally find relief after surgery. According to multiple studies, labiaplasty surgery is associated with a high satisfaction rate of over 90 percent.