There is no such thing as a normal vagina or vulva (the external tissue surrounding the vaginal opening), but some women may find that pregnancy and childbirth-related changes and enlarged or elongated labia minora prevents them from feeling confident and comfortable in bathing suits, clothing, or in intimate relationships. Concerns regarding the look or feel of the tissue around the vagina are best addressed with the common but not-frequently-talked-about procedure, labiaplasty.
At Aviva Plastic Surgery, Atlanta Urologic surgeon Dr. Shaya Taghechian strives to help women see labiaplasty as a common procedure that can improve quality of life, comfort, and confidence for the right person.
While vaginal concerns (such as dryness and laxity common after pregnancy, menopause, and chemotherapy) are best addressed with vaginal rejuvenation, labiaplasty is an aesthetically-driven surgical procedure that corrects elongated, enlarged or uneven labia minora (the inner lips of tissue surrounding the vaginal opening). For most women, the labia minora are for the most part covered by the labia majora (outer lips). In others, however, genetics, puberty, aging and pregnancy can cause the inner lips to extend beyond the outer lips. Some women can experience pain and irritation with too long labia minora, leading to discomfort in clothing, during exercise, and with sexual relationships, while other women may be bothered by the appearance of the labia. Labiaplasty treatments can address these concerns.
Even though this part of the body may not be visible to most individuals, it can impact several aspects of life. Discomfort with the appearance of the labia can make some patients feel uncomfortable showing that part of their body to their partner, impacting sexual relationships. Some women feel self-conscious about showing excessive labial tissue through tight clothing or swimwear, or having to “tuck in” the labia into undergarments. Elongated or enlarged labia minora can also feel uncomfortable; for some patients, the large size of the lips can make otherwise simple activities such as exercising or riding a bicycle uncomfortable and even painful.
Confidence in appearance and healthy function helps our patients look and feel their best every day, and this feeling extends to our patients’ professional, personal, and intimate lives. In addition to improved self-confidence, labiaplasty treatment brings:
Every body is unique and normal labia come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. As such, not every woman who thinks she needs labiaplasty should get one. Body dysmorphia and social media-generated unrealistic body standards of what a “normal” vagina or vulva look like can push patients to request labiaplasty when they don’t need it. Speaking with a trusted and experienced physician like Dr. Taghechian about the reasons why you’re considering the treatment and sharing your concerns is an important step in your treatment journey. Together, you and Dr. Taghechian can craft the right wellness strategy that ensures you reach your goals while retaining your individuality.
As with any other treatment, labiaplasty is an excellent treatment option for some patients. Often, these are women who experience the following:
While approximately 10,000 women undergo labiaplasty treatment yearly in the US, this procedure is rapidly becoming more common. As women grow more comfortable in discussing their intimate health concerns, the idea of labiaplasty is becoming more acceptable in the medical community, and Dr. Taghechian has treated many women with this procedure. Nevertheless, what seems like a straightforward procedure, a labiaplasty requires extensive expertise for best outcomes, and Dr. Taghechian recommends meeting with a women’s wellness expert if you are interested in this treatment.
Dr. Taghechian most commonly performs labiaplasty surgery in our office, with the help of relaxing medications, laughing gas, and injectable numbing medicine. Patients are released home after treatment, with most reporting taking a long nap after treatment. During their recovery, most patients take 2-4 days off work and school, and are encouraged to wear compressive leggings or shorts. About 2 weeks following labiaplasty surgery, patients return to Aviva Plastic Surgery for a follow-up appointment with Dr. Taghechian. During this visit, she assesses one’s healing progress and provides an updated timeline for recovery.
Labiaplasty risks include bleeding, bruising, infection, changes in sensation, and asymmetry of the labial tissues. A small amount of bloody drainage is normal for the first 2 weeks after surgery; however, significant bleeding is rare, as is infection and permanent numbness. Resulting significant asymmetry of the labial tissue is uncommon; this may require a revision or touch-up procedure.
Most commonly, labiaplasty treatment is a cosmetic procedure and is not typically covered by insurance. Dr. Taghechian is not in network with insurance plans at Aviva Plastic Surgery; and all labiaplasty treatments are self-pay at our practice.
We offer lots of excellent financing options for women’s wellness treatments. Please inquire with our staff about this at the time of your consultation.
Every patient has individually different anatomy and aesthetic goals; because of this, we encourage individuals interested in labiaplasty treatment to schedule a consultation with our women’s wellness expert in order to receive custom-tailored treatment recommendations and pricing information. On average, a surgical labiaplasty performed in the office starts around $5,800, while a non-surgical labiaplsty (also called FemTite or the Aviva procedure) starts around $5,700.
Surgical labiaplasty involves contouring and reshaping of labial tissue. The labia minora may be excessive, asymmetric, or affected by scar tissue from childbirth; the tissue around the clitoris, called the clitoral hood, may be overly long or stretched also. These factors, as well as any other anatomic findings, are carefully considered during the surgical planning of a labiaplasty treatment. Given the sensitivity of the surgical area, the treatment requires high technical expertise, extensive training and experience of the surgeon, and great compliance with treatment instructions of the patient. Ensuring patients are fully prepared to undergo labiaplasty starts by building a close, trusting relationship with each patient.
At Aviva Plastic Surgery, your intimate wellness journey begins with your initial consultation, during which we want to hear all about you, your concerns, and your goals. After this, Dr. Taghechian performs a thorough examination, develops a customized treatment plan, and explains all available options to help you determine which approach will help you achieve your goals while fulfilling your needs.
In some instances of surgical labiaplasty, excess labial tissue is surgically removed in a length-wise manner along the free border of the labia minora. Another popular option is the wedge technique, during which a wedge of excess tissue is removed and the natural border of the labia minora remains intact, with the labial tissue becoming lifted and no longer excessive or bothersome.
Unlike other surgeries, labiaplasty is a women’s wellness treatment which is often done as an outpatient procedure and completed in about 1-2 hours. Dr. Taghechian commonly performs labiaplasty treatments in our luxurious, state-of-the-art office, using the help of relaxing laughing gas (also known as ProNox) and injectable numbing medicine. In certain cases, Dr. Taghechian combines labiaplasty procedures with other treatments in the operating room and with the help of general anesthesia. Dissolvable stitches are used to seal the surgical site, and patients return home to rest shortly after completion of treatment.
Dr. Shaya Taghechian and our staff are strongly invested in both a highly effective treatment and uncomplicated recovery for our patients. We work with you before and after your labiaplasty treatment to ensure that you are comfortable with the treatment plan and are thoroughly educated about the best before and after treatment care.
We recommend reviewing the Pre- and Post-Treatment Labiaplasty instructions several times prior to and after your treatment. We want to provide you with the information and tools you need to have an excellent treatment experience. Please contact our office should you have any questions or concerns about these instructions, your preparation for surgery, or post-treatment recovery. We are here to help!
Please read and familiarize yourself with these instructions before and after your labiaplasty. By following them carefully you will assist in obtaining the best result from your surgery. If you have questions or concerns, please contact our office.
Shave the treatment area completely 2-3 days prior to the procedure.
Do not take any anti-inflammatories or multivitamins starting 7-10 days prior to your procedure (see list of anti-inflammatory medications below). Avoid alcohol 48 hours prior to and 48 hours after your procedure.
Immediately following labiaplasty you should remain as flat as possible for the first week.
Apply ice packs to the treated area every 1-2 hours for the first 72 hours while awake, placed over a thin minipad. Ice packs should never be applied directly to the skin. Using ice packs for the first week as much as possible will greatly help your healing process, and reduce the amount of post-operative swelling and discomfort.
It is normal to have swelling and bruising of the labia. This resolves over the first 2 weeks after surgery.
Let soapy water wash over the incision sites at 24 hours after treatment. Do not scrub. Then apply antibiotic ointment to the incision points twice daily for one week. Tiny scabs may appear during the healing process. Please do not pick at the scabs.
Use a peri bottle (clear plastic bottle provided for you) to clean the treated area with warm water after using the restroom; avoid wiping, as this can cause discomfort and bleeding. Use the peri bottle for 1-2 weeks after treatment.
Limit physical activity and exposure to excessive heat (including fires) and UV light for 2 weeks.
Avoid swimming and submerging in water the treated areas for 6 weeks after treatment.
Do not shave the treated area for 2 weeks after treatment.
The surgical dressings can be removed anytime they are saturated and then replaced with a sanitary napkin or maxipad. There will be bloody or blood-tinged drainage for a minimum of 1- 2 weeks following your labiaplasty.
Apply antibiotic ointment to the incisions twice a day for 14 days. Please apply a thin coating only. Excessive amounts of ointment are not necessary.
You may switch to an Aloe Vera ointment after 2 weeks.
Take Ibuprofen 800mg every 8 hours with food for the first 3-5 days after treatment. This can be alternated or combined with 2 regular Tylenol (325mg) every 8 hours. Both medications will help to reduce swelling and decrease your overall need for stronger pain medications.
Most patients will experience relatively minor discomfort after a labiaplasty. However, some patients do experience moderate to severe swelling that can cause much discomfort. Diligent post-operative application of ice packs may reduce swelling thereby reducing pain.
Patients who experience minimal swelling and bleeding should be able to resume sedentary work activities within a few days, resume light exercise at one week, and have no restrictions after 2 weeks (following your postoperative visit).
Patients with more excessive swelling and discomfort may want to limit their activities until they feel comfortable and gradually progress to their normal activities.
Avoid sexual intercourse for 6 weeks post-procedure.
As a general rule, you may resume sexual activity 6 to 12 weeks after surgery. This is totally patient-dependent. We will let you know when you are sufficiently healed to resume sexual activity.
Healing of sensory nerves
The skin of the labia may be partially numb for several months while the wounds are healing. Permanent numbness is very rare.
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