Labiaplasty is considered a type of cosmetic surgery and is designed to reduce the size of the labia minora (which are the inner lips surrounding the vaginal opening) and reshape them. Women who have undergone labiaplasty surgery should make sure to follow the post-operative instructions given to them by their surgeon. We commonly get asked about the best ways to reduce labiaplasty swelling and we have discussed the best ways to minimise this below.
Here we will discuss some tips on how to help the healing process, so you have the smoothest labiaplasty recovery possible.
Common labiaplasty side-effects
There is a range of common side effects that you may notice, as your body starts to heal from the labiaplasty.
Swelling of the labia minora, after a labiaplasty, is a common aftereffect that most patients may experience. The swelling occurs when the body directs inflammatory cells to the area to eliminate bacteria and other toxins from around the incisions. This helps to prevent infection while the tissue heals.
After a labiaplasty procedure, you might see some light “spotting”. This spotting is not to be confused with light bleeding from the vagina due to hormonal fluctuation. This spotting is the blood that is coming from the incisions made during the procedure. A small amount is perfectly normal, but if it is excessive or continuous then you must contact your surgeon right away.
As with spotting, discharge from the incisions while the area heals is common. The discharge is odourless and small amounts are normal. However, if the discharge is excessive and has an unpleasant odour, bring it to the attention of Dr Dimitriadi who will be able to advise appropriately.
Discomfort following a labiaplasty happens as the labia minora heals. Usually, this is the result of inflammation of the area and should go away as swelling reduces. If the discomfort is excessive or painful, to the point you are not able to manage it, let your surgeon know what’s happening – they may be able to help you.
How long does labiaplasty swelling last for?
The time it takes for inflammation and swelling to reduce can vary from patient to patient. Swelling, on average, lasts a few days but it is possible that it could last several weeks as everything starts to heal.
The swelling timeline
Here we will look at how the typical recovery process following a labiaplasty, and what to expect at each milestone.
Following the procedure, you are going to spend some time recovering at the clinic until you feel comfortable enough to leave. Before you do go, your surgeon will give you aftercare guidance and any prescriptions you may need.
You might notice some swelling and discomfort, even stinging when urinating too because of inflammation. This is normal, and temporary and will recede as your incisions heal.
You may also notice the swelling increases in the first few days. This is expected, as your body heals, and is nothing to worry about. However, you should tell your surgeon about any excessive swelling and increases in pain.
Days six and seven
By this stage, you should be aware of some improvements in the swelling of the area. Some discomfort could also be present but this should be reduced. You will most likely be lowering your pain medication doses, but specific instructions for this will be given by your surgeon.
After one week, you will have a follow-up appointment with your surgeon. This is to monitor your progress and side effects. If you have any questions or concerns about your recovery, they can be raised at this follow-up.
Any remaining swelling should continue to reduce over the weeks following the procedure. At this point, patients will normally continue daily but light activities – including returning to office-based work.
Six to eight weeks
At this stage, your stitches will have dissolved and the incisions should be fully healed. Swelling should have reduced significantly now, but it can take up to 12 weeks for swelling to go away totally.
How to reduce swelling after labiaplasty?
It is important to follow the aftercare advice that you will be given, but there are some general things that you can do too. We will look at those here.
Avoid sexual intercourse
You will not be able to have sex for up to 8 weeks after the procedure. Sex causes friction, and this can lead to torn stitches. It can also introduce bacteria to incision sites. This can lead to increased swelling and longer healing times.
Avoid waxing or shaving
You should not shave or wax the area until 8 weeks after the labiaplasty. This gives the labiaplasty incisions sufficient time to heal.
Take pain medication as instructed by your surgeon
After the labiaplasty procedure, your surgeon is going to prescribe you pain relief medication – this will help you to manage your pain and discomfort. Your surgeon will also advise on what you should take, and when, as a part of your aftercare instructions. You must follow these directions so that you have the smoothest recovery that you can.
Use a cold compress
After the labiaplasty procedure, a cold compress (a bag of frozen peas or similar can work) can help with controlling pain and relieve swelling. To avoid skin injury due to the low temperature, wrap the compress in a thin towel. It should be applied for no more than 15 minutes at a time to avoid potential skin irritation.
Is a labiaplasty procedure worth It?
Lots of patients see labiaplasty as a worthwhile procedure that has been able to improve their quality of life – even with the several weeks of swelling following the procedure. This could be because it addresses aesthetic issues, or because it addresses functional issues brought on by excess skin – chafing during sex, exercise etc.
Why choose Centre for Surgery for labiaplasty?
If you are experiencing discomfort due to excess labial skin tissue, or you desire a more symmetrical-looking labia, then labiaplasty might be for you.
Here at Centre for Surgery in Baker Street, our world-renowned cosmetic gynaecologist, Dr Dimitriadi will take very good care of you. Dr Dimitriadi is widely considered to be one of the best cosmetic gynaecologists in London and the UK. To begin, get in touch with us via our contact form or give us a call on 020 799 34849. We look forward to speaking with you.