Labiaplasty is an increasingly requested procedure in the UK for women affected by the size of large labia. Many patients are keen to know to improve their recovery after labiaplasty. Several questions women may ask about labiaplasty recovery include:
- Is labiaplasty recovery painful?
- When can I exercise after labia surgery?
- How long does it take to heal after labia surgery?
- What do labiaplasty scars look like?
Centre for Surgery is considered the leading plastic surgery clinic in the UK for labiaplasty surgery. Our surgeons have years of experience in all types of labia surgery. Here we present the key information to help make your recovery after labia surgery as smooth as possible to get the best labiaplasty results.
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Benefits of labiaplasty surgery
Excessively large or asymmetrical labia minora can be a significant source of pain and discomfort during exercise or sexual intercourse. Women may also be unable to maintain a sufficient level of personal hygiene and may develop a significant loss of self-confidence.
Labiaplasty surgery is the ideal solution to relieve physical pain and discomfort and improve the size and shape of the inner labia. Several factors, including childbirth, the natural ageing process, hormonal fluctuations and genetics, can influence how the labia appear. Labiaplasty is a highly effective plastic surgery procedure designed to reduce the size of the labia minora. The procedure involves the removal of excess labial tissue to reduce excessive protrusion. The inner labia should then appear in better proportion with both the vaginal opening and the outer labia majora.
There are several different techniques for performing labiaplasty surgery, including both the trim and wedge methods. After a thorough clinical assessment, the most suitable technique will be selected to address your needs and desires.
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Recovery after labiaplasty – what to expect
Labiaplasty can be performed under local anaesthesia or general anaesthesia, depending on the extent of surgical correction required. When performed on its own, labia surgery takes between one and two hours to carry out. Patients will be able to go home later the same day once they have recovered from the anaesthetic effects. Labia surgery may be combined with vaginal tightening surgery in the same procedure, and this is also known as a designer vagina procedure.
Labiaplasty recovery timeline
The recovery timeline below after labiaplasty recovery should give you a good idea of what to expect in the days and weeks following labiaplasty surgery.
Immediately after labia surgery
Once the labiaplasty procedure is complete, you will spend time in our dedicated recovery suite. You should not feel any significant pain or discomfort as the local anaesthetic injected during surgery will still be working. Once the post-operative instructions have been explained to you, you can go home via car or taxi. If you had a general anaesthetic, you might still be drowsy from the effects of the anaesthetic. You will therefore need to have a responsible adult escort to drive you home and stay with you for at least the first 24 hours after labia surgery.
First 3 days after labiaplasty
Most women may experience mild discomfort, bruising, swelling and itching during the first few days after surgery. Although the initial period after surgery can be challenging, these symptoms will settle on their own by the end of week one. Over-the-counter painkillers can help to relieve any pain after labiaplasty. Labiaplasty swelling is common and is due to the well-developed blood supply to the labia tissue. Swelling is a normal response to labia surgery and is part of the natural healing process. Cold packs can be applied to the surgical area to help control bruising and swelling. Minor bleeding can be noticed after surgery and can be controlled by applying absorbent pads against the surgical site. If you experience significant bleeding or an unusual discharge, you should get in touch with your surgeon immediately. These may be features of a potential complication after labiaplasty.
The first week after labiaplasty
By the end of week one after labiaplasty surgery, most women will have noticed symptoms of pain and swelling to have improved. Painkillers should not be required after the first week. Bruising, swelling and itchiness will take longer to settle down as the incisions will not have healed fully yet. Significant itchiness that is getting worse may suggest a fungal or bacterial infection and should be assessed by your surgeon urgently. Excessive itching after labiaplasty may also be related to an allergic reaction to prescribed medication.
We would recommend taking one week off work after labiaplasty. You should take it easy during this period and keep the surgical site as clean and dry as possible to minimise the risk of wound complications.
2-4 weeks after labiaplasty
After two weeks, the majority of swelling and itchiness should have disappeared. Many women can now begin to see the results of labiaplasty surgery, although the incisions may not have fully healed yet. Our surgeons use dissolvable stitches to close the labiaplasty incisions, and they should be fully healed approximately four weeks after surgery.
Your surgeon may allow you to undertake certain forms of exercise four weeks after labiaplasty. Many forms of vigorous exercise should be avoided to prevent excessive strain on the incision lines. This includes activities such as cycling or riding a horse. Sexual intercourse should be avoided for a minimum of eight weeks after labiaplasty.
Six weeks after labiaplasty
After six weeks, most patients will have completed the labiaplasty recovery period. All activities can be undertaken apart from sexual intercourse, which should be deferred until eight weeks. Once eight weeks have been reached after labiaplasty surgery, the labiaplasty scars should be sufficiently strong to withstand increased forces during both exercise and sexual intercourse. Labiaplasty scars can take between three and six months to fully mature. Although they may appear initially as a raised red line, they will gradually flatten to form a faint white line.
Top tips for the best healing after labiaplasty
Although labiaplasty is an invasive surgical procedure, it is less invasive than other types of vaginal plastic surgery, such as vaginal tightening surgery. The recovery period after labiaplasty can be made smoother by adhering to your surgeon’s post-operative instructions. Here we give advice on how to reduce pain, minimise swelling and alleviate itchiness after labia surgery.
How to relieve pain after labiaplasty
Pain after labiaplasty is minimal and will significantly improve over the first week after surgery. Pain after labiaplasty can be minimised by taking prescription painkillers as directed by your surgeon. Cold packs should be applied intermittently to the surgical area for the first 72 hours to minimise swelling and discomfort. You should take plenty of time out for rest and avoid vigorous activities, including going to the gym during the first week after labiaplasty surgery. Tight-fitting clothing should be avoided to minimise irritation of the labiaplasty incision lines. Loose-fitting cotton clothing should be worn. When sitting down, it is better to use a doughnut pillow to avoid excessive pressure being applied to the surgical site. Warm water should be used for wiping the genitalia instead of toilet paper when urinating.
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How to reduce swelling after labiaplasty
Swelling after labiaplasty is very common due to the highly developed blood supply to the delicate labial tissue. Labiaplasty swelling can last for several weeks after surgery. Swelling can be minimised by applying cold packs to the area for 15 minutes at a time. You should avoid excessive application of cold packs to avoid the risk of cold injury. Keeping well hydrated helps to speed up the healing process and reduce swelling after labiaplasty. You should try to drink at least eight glasses of water a day. Keeping mobile around the home helps to promote healthy blood circulation and minimise the risk of blood clots. You should, however, avoid long walks for at least four weeks after surgery. When sleeping, it will help to position a pillow beneath your buttocks. This helps to elevate the level of your genitalia and accelerate the resolution of swelling from the area more quicker.
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How to soothe itching after labiaplasty
Itching after a Labiaplasty is a common side effect experienced during recovery. As the labiaplasty incisions heal, itchiness is experienced as new tissue is formed to seal the wounds. Itchiness after labiaplasty begins to improve after one week. Labiaplasty itching can be controlled by keeping the surgical site clean and avoiding irritation of the incisions by rubbing them. Cold packs applied to the area can help to reduce any itching sensation after labiaplasty. Most forms of itchiness are related to the release of histamine. Antihistamine medication taken via mouth may be prescribed by your surgeon to minimise itching.
Things to avoid after labiaplasty surgery
We would recommend women take approximately one week off work after labiaplasty surgery. The labiaplasty recovery process will take longer and usually lasts between six and eight weeks. Fast and smooth healing after a labiaplasty can be achieved by avoiding vigorous physical activity and sexual intercourse for up to 8 weeks after labia surgery. If you are unsure when to start exercise, always ask your surgeon first. You should avoid smoking for at least four weeks after surgery, as smoking is associated with delayed wound healing. Alcohol should be avoided for the first two weeks to promote healthy wound healing. Showering is allowed 48 hours after surgery, although swimming and bathing should be avoided for six weeks to minimise the risk of infection. We recommend patients avoid scratching or rubbing the surgical incision as this could lead to wound breakdown and potential wound infection.
Topical creams to alleviate itchiness should be avoided for at least four weeks, as the incisions will still be actively healing. Tampons should be avoided as they could irritate the incisions, and women should use sanitary pads instead during the first four weeks after labiaplasty. Constipation after labiaplasty can be treated with laxatives such as lactulose. Keeping well hydrated and eating a high-fibre diet can also help to prevent constipation.
Recovery after labiaplasty FAQs
Is labiaplasty recovery painful?
Most women who have labiaplasty do not experience significant pain. Any mild pain can be easily controlled with over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol for up to 1 week after surgery.
How long do labiaplasty stitches take to dissolve?
Here at Centre for Surgery, our plastic surgeons and gynaecologists use the highest quality dissolvable stitches during most types of labiaplasty surgery. It takes between three and four weeks for dissolvable stitches to be absorbed by the body. The result is a barely visible scar that will improve further over the first three months after labia surgery.
Will I lose sensation after labiaplasty?
As with any plastic surgery involving incisions, it is normal to experience a temporary loss of sensation and numbness in the area of surgery after a labiaplasty. Once swelling disappears, labial sensitivity should return. Most women can look forward to increased sensation after labiaplasty due to the removal of excess labia tissue that may have been responsible for significant discomfort.
When can I have sex after labiaplasty?
Sexual intercourse should be avoided for eight weeks after labiaplasty surgery. Always listen to your body if you do not yet feel ready to engage in sexual activity.
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Labia surgery at Centre for Surgery
Centre for Surgery is the leading plastic surgery clinic in London and is home to the top gynaecologists and plastic surgeons in the UK. Our surgeons have years of experience in labia surgery and have achieved a patient satisfaction rating of 98%. Recovery after a Labiaplasty can be made smoother by following all of your surgeon’s post-operative instructions. Get in touch with us today to schedule a face-to-face labiaplasty consultation at our state-of-the-art Baker Street clinic in Marylebone.
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