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Occasionally, labia minora hypertrophy will appear in women as a condition that usually presents itself around puberty, or as a result of natural childbirth. This condition is characterized by enlarged labial tissue. This can be both painful and embarrassing if the labia is visible through clothing or is prone to pinching and irritation when riding a bicycle, attending spin class, horseback riding, sitting, or during sexual intercourse. Labial reduction surgery can be performed by an experienced and qualified plastic surgeon or gynecologist with an expectation of significant improvement in the functional and aesthetic outcome. Dr. Craig Rowin and Dr. Ram Kalus at Plastic Surgery of the Carolinas have extensive experience performing labial reduction surgery and can address your unique concerns.

What is Labiaplasty?

Labiaplasty is usually intended to reduce the inner labia (“labia minora”) for both functional and aesthetic enhancement, with the procedure used to minimize the risk of twisting and tugging on excess tissue. For women who struggle with stretched or enlarged labia—a common and natural condition—labiaplasty is intended to reduce redundant tissue and minimize irritation and discomfort, as well as potentially visible bulging through clothing, bathing suits, or underwear. The procedure can also be used to correct asymmetry and improve the cosmetic appearance of the labia and the clitoral hood. This type of vaginal rejuvenation can often lead to increased self-confidence and comfort in situations that previously may have led to embarrassment and self-consciousness.

What are Common Reasons for Labiaplasty?

Due to the extreme sensitivity of the labia minora, an array of concerns can arise when redundant tissue is present. The symptoms that can commonly be improved or resolved through surgical labia reduction include:

  • Irritation occurring from friction
  • Pain and discomfort during physical activities
  • Skin chafing
  • Embarrassment when nude or wearing form-fitting clothing

While labial hypertrophy usually does not affect one’s health, consideration of a labiaplasty may be necessary when enlarged labia minora start to impact your quality of life or prevent you from fully engaging in certain activities.

What are the Benefits of Labiaplasty?

A labiaplasty procedure typically benefits women who have enlarged and/or asymmetrical labia minora and experience aesthetic or functional discomfort as a result. Depending on your unique needs, this form of vaginal rejuvenation can generally achieve the following:

  • Removal of stretched or excess labial tissue
  • Improved symmetry of labia
  • Reduced length of the labia minora
  • Overall improvement of sexual satisfaction and quality of life

If you are unsure whether you would benefit from a labiaplasty, Dr. Rowin or Dr. Kalus can determine whether this procedure is right for you during a consultation. Many women include a labiaplasty as part of a mommy makeover for a full restoration of their pre-pregnancy status.

How is the Labiaplasty Procedure Performed?

The technique used in labiaplasty will depend on your specific physical findings, which will help determine the most optimal treatment plan for you. A common approach involves a trim procedure, in which excess tissue is removed with a straight-line incision along the edge of the labia. Rarely, a wedge excision may be used to eliminate redundant skin in the labia minora and restore a typical anatomic appearance. Extra skin folds in the clitoral hood may also be reduced, depending on your individual needs. Drs. Rowin and Kalus, our plastic surgeons, will discuss the details of surgery with you in person to ensure you are well-informed about the procedure. The surgical incisions are closed with absorbable sutures and skin adhesive, which acts as a water resistant sealant. Labiaplasty is an outpatient procedure performed under a light general anesthesia, but local anesthesia is used in addition to keep you comfortable and pain-free for at least 24 to 72 hours after surgery.

What is Recovery Like for Labiaplasty?

After labial reduction surgery, patients generally experience temporary bruising and swelling in the treated areas. Dr. Rowin or Dr. Kalus will administer a timed-release local anesthetic medication at the time of surgery, which should eliminate most post-operative discomfort almost entirely for two to three days. These symptoms should resolve as recovery progresses, but any discomfort can often be managed well with additional oral pain medication, for which you will be given prescriptions before your surgery. Individuals typically return to work and daily activities within a week at most, although strenuous physical activity such as exercise, spin class, riding a bicycle, and sexual intercourse should be avoided for four weeks.

What are the Results of Labiaplasty?

As the final outcome of surgery is fully realized, patients almost uniformly report 100% satisfaction from their surgery and often experience not only alleviation of their pre-operative symptoms, but also an increased sense of confidence— particularly in situations that may have previously been anxiety-provoking. In the vast majority of cases, the improvement from labiaplasty surgery is permanent and lifelong.

What are the Risks of Labiaplasty?

Complications are, thankfully, rare with labiaplasty, although the risks are similar to those of any surgical procedure. There is a theoretical risk of bleeding, infection, hematoma, or delayed healing in a portion of the suture line. In addition, there is a risk of asymmetry, but some degree of asymmetry in this part of the body is more the rule than the exception. In general, patients are more symmetrical after surgery than they were before surgery. Although these complications are rare it is essential to select an experienced and well-qualified plastic surgeon to perform your procedure to ensure you are receiving the highest standard of safety and care during your labiaplasty surgery. Drs. Rowin or Kalus will thoroughly evaluate your medical history and unique needs to confirm that you are a good candidate for the procedure.

How Much Does Labiaplasty Cost?

Labiaplasty is priced according to the details of your treatment plan, including the surgical technique utilized and the extent of your concerns. The surgical fee can vary between $3,500 to $5,500 depending on the complexity of the surgical correction, not including costs related to the surgical facility and anesthesia. This does not necessarily reflect the exact rates at our practice, but rest assured that our patient care coordinator will provide you with a personalized quote of your expenses after Dr. Rowin or Dr. Kalus evaluates your during your consultation.

Many patients can make their surgery more affordable with the payment plans available through our financing provider, CareCredit®. This reputable lending institution offers qualified applicants a multitude of low- to no-interest payment plans that can accommodate virtually any budget. For more information, please reach out to our office to speak to a member of our team.

Additional Frequently Asked Questions About Labiaplasty

What kind of doctor can perform labiaplasty?

While many different kinds of doctors may offer labiaplasty procedures, it is a good idea to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon for this treatment. While labiaplasty offers a number of functional benefits, the procedure is primarily categorized as a cosmetic treatment. With that in mind, women who are considering labiaplasty should seek out board-certified plastic surgeons who are experienced with this type of procedure. It’s often best to ask a prospective doctor about his or her level of skill as it pertains to labiaplasty and cosmetic vaginal rejuvenation procedures. It can also be helpful to view before-and-after photos of patients who have been treated by the surgeon.

How old do you have to be to get labiaplasty?

Most patients who have labiaplasty are aged 18 and over. It is typically advisable for patients to have completed the development process before undergoing labiaplasty. Individuals who are younger than 18 will need consent from a parent or legal guardian.

Are there non-surgical alternatives to labiaplasty?

In some cases, a non-surgical alternative to labiaplasty such as ThermiVa™ may be an effective option. ThermiVa™ utilizes radiofrequency technology to tighten inelastic labial tissue and other concerns in the vaginal area. Since ThermiVa™ does not require anesthesia or surgery, the treatment is often completed in less than 30 minutes, and many patients can resume normal daily routines immediately. While ThermiVa™ can be an ideal alternative for some individuals, others who have more severe concerns may require surgical labiaplasty to achieve the best results. During your consultation, Dr. Rowin or Dr. Kalus can talk with you about your options and help you determine the best treatment for your needs and goals.

How long does labiaplasty take to heal?

The total length of the healing process after labiaplasty will depend upon the specific concerns being addressed, the surgical technique utilized, and anatomical indicators unique to each patient. While most individuals are able to resume work schedules and other normal daily routines within just a few days, it is important to remember that patients should avoid certain fitness regimens, sexual intercourse, and strenuous activities for a minimum of four weeks, or as recommended by one of our plastic surgeons. By strictly following post-operative guidelines during the recovery period, patients can help maximize the safety and efficacy of the healing process after labiaplasty.

Is the cost of labiaplasty covered by insurance?

Labiaplasty is typically considered an elective cosmetic surgery and is therefore not covered by most medical insurance policies. Fortunately, our practice accepts a comprehensive range of payment methods, including financing arrangements through renowned companies such as CareCredit®. We understand that cost is an important factor for many patients, and we can talk with you about ways to pay for this procedure that are most convenient for your budget.

If you are interested in labiaplasty surgery, Dr. Rowin and Dr. Kalus can find the best treatment plan to meet your needs. To schedule a consultation, contact our office online or by telephone today.

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