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Top 10 Things You Need to Know About Labiaplasty Recovery

Labiaplasty, a surgical procedure designed to reshape or reduce the size of the labia minora, the inner folds of skin surrounding the vaginal opening, has drastically increased in popularity in the last 2 decades. This surgery carries one of the highest satisfaction rates for our patients–and for good reason, as women frequently report improved comfort, satisfaction with appearance, and increased self-confidence after labiaplasty. While the reasons for choosing this surgery vary, knowing what to expect during recovery is critical for a safe and comfortable healing process. In this blog, we review the top 10 things you need to know for a smooth and successful labiaplasty recovery.

1. Positioning Helps Manage Swelling

You should opt to recline, lay flat, or lay on your side as much as possible for at least 1 week after a labiaplasty. We recommend staying away from prolonged sitting and standing to minimize swelling. In addition to staying off your pelvis, we find gentle compression in the form of snug yoga pants or bicycle shorts can also help decrease swelling and discomfort.

2. Icing Helps Decrease Swelling and Discomfort 

To reduce swelling and discomfort, you should ice the treated area every 1-2 hours for the first 72 hours after surgery. Cool compresses should be applied to the labia over a thin feminine pad or underwear for best results. Do not apply ice directly to the treated area to avoid possible infection and frostbite; the labia are normally partially numb immediately after labiaplasty surgery, and it is possible to get frostbite with excessive cold applied to numb skin.

3. Gentle Compression Helps Support Healing Tissues

Gentle compression helps manage both post-surgery discomfort and swelling after labiaplasty treatment. In the first week of recovery, we recommend wearing yoga pants or compressive bicycle shorts as much as possible to reduce swelling. Applying cool compresses over gentle compression can also be soothing and helping to decrease soreness and swelling.  

4. Avoid Stressful Activity to Aid Recovery

Limit physical activity and exposure to excessive heat (including fires) and UV light for at least 2 weeks after surgery. We recommend you avoid working out, prolonged walking, running, bicycling, and squats immediately after labiaplasty, as these activities can irritate your labiaplasty incisions and stitches. It’s best to treat the incision and labia as gently as possible to help promote good healing and avoid incisions from opening or becoming excessively irritated. Along the lines of optimizing healing tissue is nicotine use; we recommend against smoking, chewing tobacco, vaping, and any nicotine containing products for at least 6 weeks before and 6 weeks after your surgery to ensure best healing. 

5. No Sexual Intercourse During Healing

For optimal healing, avoid sexual intercourse while recovering after labiaplasty. We also caution against the use of tampons or anything else placed inside the vagina or requiring separation of the labia for at least 6 weeks after surgery.  As a general rule, you may resume sexual activity 6 weeks after surgery, after being evaluated for good healing cleared by our expert women’s wellness team.

6. Avoid Shaving and Hair Removal During Healing 

To allow the labia a full and uneventful recovery, you should avoid shaving, waxing, or other hair removal techniques for at least 2 weeks post-labiaplasty. We recommend you wax or shave 3-4 days prior to labiaplasty, and avoid hair removal immediately after surgery, as this can irritate incisions or disrupt and remove stitches too early.

7. No Swimming to Avoid Infection

We highly recommend you avoid swimming and submerging in water the treated areas for 6 weeks after labiaplasty. Dirty water can increase your risk of infection during recovery, so stick to showers with tap water and use your peri bottle during and after restroom use. Our expert team usually clears you for swimming and physical exercise if you are healing well 6 weeks after labiaplasty surgery.

8. Keeping Incisions Clean Helps Recovery and Healing

It is absolutely normal and expected to have mild to moderate bloody or blood-tinged drainage from the labiaplasty incision sites for 1-2 weeks after your procedure. You should use pads or pantyliners for absorption, and change them as needed when saturated. When using the restroom, avoid toilet paper, and instead use the peri bottle provided to you with warm tap water to wash the labia.  Allow soapy tap water from the shower to run over the treated area 24 hours after surgery. Apply antibiotic ointment at the incision sites twice daily for the 1st week of recovery. Avoid scrubbing the treated area and incision. Scabbing may occur during healing, but avoid picking at scabs as this can lead to problems healing.

9. Itching is Normal and Temporary

As your treated tissues regain sensation, itching commonly sets in along incision sites and stitches. Itching can be intense and irritating for some patients, and we encourage you to see it as a normal and temporary part of your labiaplasty recovery. We recommend against scrubbing, scratching, and picking at incisions and treated areas to decrease the risk of wound healing problems and infection. Applying aloe vera gel to your incisions can prove soothing and helpful for itching.

10. Normalizing Recovery is Helpful for Healing 

Swelling, bruising, soreness–and worry–are all a common and normal part of labiaplasty recovery. It is important to give your body grace during the post-labiaplasty healing process, and avoid unnecesseary stress. Most of the labiaplasty-associated swelling and bruising resolve in 10-14 days after surgery, and your tissues continue looking and feeling better for several months after treatment. Our expert staff carefully monitors your healing and check in with you multiple times during your recovery; we also recommend you listen to your favorite music and enjoy entertaining podcasts, tv shows, and books while healing to help maintain a positive outlook. 

Recovery from labiaplasty, while usually routine and straightforward, requires careful attention to post-operative care. Following our pre- and post-treatment recommendations and guidelines helps you have a smooth and safe recovery. We encourage you to follow our specific pre- and post-treatment care instructions, look forward to great results, and reach out to us should you have any questions or concerns during your labiaplasty recovery. We’re here to help!

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