When is labial surgery performed?
Labial surgery (reconstruction or reduction) is performed for women who are unhappy with the appearance of their labia minora, especially if they are asymmetrical or enlarged (bulging).
What are the labia minora?
The labia minora (or the inner labia) are two longitudinal skin folds on the vulva. They are situated between the labia majora, and extend from the clitoris obliquely downward, ending between bottom of the vulval vestibule and the labia majora.
Labia minora may vary widely in size from woman to woman. Labial unevenness or large labia may cause physical discomfort or embarrassment for a woman including:
- discomfort and irritation with certain types of clothing (i.e. tight jeans)
- pain and discomfort with physical activities (i.e. cycling or working)
- difficulties with sexual intercourse
- physical protrusion in the genital area while wearing underwear or bikini
The reasons for labial surgery include the correction of labial damage occurred during childbirth, the elimination of pain and discomfort consequent to enlarged labia and personal aesthetic reasons.
How is the labial surgery performed?
The operation usually performed under general anaesthetic. It involves removal of the excessive labial skin and making labia as symmetrical as possible. The edges the incisions are closed with fine dissolvable sutures.
What is the recovery after surgery like?
Most women go home on the same day, when any discomfort is controlled. The effects of the anaesthetic will usually wear off after 24 hours. There will then be some discomfort at the operation site and the patient will need to take painkillers for several days. Paracetamol and/or Ibuprofen (Nurofen) are usually sufficient.
Most women need a week off work. They should avoid the use of tampons, tight clothing and sexual intercourse for 4 weeks to allow adequate healing of incisions. The excellent blood supply to the labia ensures rapid wound healing.