Labiaplasty – cost, recovery time, reviews, before & after photos, risks
Labiaplasty, also known as labia reduction, is a type of vaginal surgery that reduces the size or shape of the labia minora, the outer vaginal lips. Manhattan plastic surgeon Dr. Thomas W. Loeb performs the procedure on women who are born with irregularly shaped, asymmetrical or large labia. For some women, enlarged labia causes embarrassment or shyness with a sexual partner. For others, the condition can be physically painful and interfere with pleasurable sexual activity.
“There is no need to suffer with discomfort or shame,” Dr. Loeb explains. “The general public doesn’t understand the day-to-day struggles a woman goes through. Privately, labiaplasty numbers have surged in recent years as more women become aware of their options. I’ve helped transform the lives of women for a myriad of personal reasons, whether it’s to alleviate chafing or boost self-confidence.”
What constitutes a “normal-sized labia” for women is not well-defined. The inner lips of the vagina are typically 0.7 to 5 centimeters from the uppermost skin fold to the lowest hanging edge. The size and shape of the labia is determined by genetics, but can stretch, tear or change with childbirth.
Usually, the labia goes back to pre-baby status, but labiaplasty surgery is a consideration if the inner lips remain exposed, causing irritation from snug clothing, activities like sex or bike riding, and repeated yeast or urinary tract infections. Some women also consider labiaplasty for purely cosmetic reasons to meet with their ideal standards of size, shape and symmetry or match a partner’s expectations.
As one labiaplasty surgery patient on The Frisky blog put it: “My unruly butterfly wings — otherwise known as my labia — interfered with my sexual activities. Riding a bike for more than 15 minutes? Painful. Camel toe? Obvious. Intercourse? Lube did little to relieve all that smooshing, pulling, stretching, especially when condoms were involved.”
The American Society for Aesthetic Surgery reported a 44 percent increase in the number of labiaplasties from 2013 to 2014. A 2008 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that 37 percent of women made the decision to have surgery for aesthetic reasons alone; 32 percent wished to correct functional impairment; and 31 percent elected for surgery based on a combination of practical and aesthetic concerns.
The labiaplasty procedure (also sometimes called a “labia minora reduction”) can be done in two different ways. A trim involves snipping excess labial skin along the outer circumference with surgical scissors. Most surgeons use this method to remove the longer, darker edges of the labia and yield good long-term results with fewer complications. A wedge procedure involves removing a section of the lips with a scalpel and suturing the circle smaller. This method may be ideal when patients wish to reduce the bulk of the labia minora. According to WebMD, some surgeons substitute newer laser technology in place of tools, but the outcome is essentially the same. Find more info on the labiaplasty procedure here: http://www.webmd.com/women/guide/vaginoplasty-and-labiaplasty-procedures.
Either approach is typically done at an accredited surgical facility under twilight anesthesia, which means patients are awake and able to respond to basic commands, but relaxed and generally unaware of what’s going on. Patients feel some movement during the stitching, but no pain. The whole event is over within two hours. After a few hours in the recovery room, patients are sent home.
Some young women express concern about getting labiaplasty prior to having children. However, the excess skin of the labia serves no utilitarian function, which should put the labiaplasty pregnancy debate to rest. The labiaplasty should not interfere with the ability to go through a natural childbirth. As Labiaplasty Melbourne explains, “The labia are extremely pliable and stretchable. Labiaplasty reduces the length of the labia but not the labia’s ability to stretch. In some cases labiaplasty may make childbirth easier.”
The end result is improved self-confidence and sexual enhancement, say patients in labiaplasty reviews. The procedure received a 95 percent “Worth It” rating at Real Self, the internet’s largest database of plastic surgery reviews and patient stories.
“I suffered for more then 15 years I was always worried about wearing tight clothes specially swimsuit. I don’t have to anymore. I feel so good about my body for the first time in my life,” said a 29-year-old from Denver, Colorado.
Two months post-op, a 20-year-old UK woman said she couldn’t be happier with her new labia, though the recovery was “painful and slow” and she still felt some tugging during intimate encounters. Overall, she said she “couldn’t be happier” and called the surgery a “life-changer.”
A woman from Englewood, Colorado shared her labiaplasty experience after three vaginal births, explaining that she was tired of the soreness, swelling and rubbing. “I am equally excited to not have to move them out of the way for comfortable sex,” she said. The surgery changed her life and had her feeling young again, she added. “Sex is a whole different experience! Almost like being a virgin again.” Read more labiaplasty reviews: http://www.realself.com/Labiaplasty/reviews.
For many women, labiaplasty satisfaction is about more than sex. The New York Post tells the story of women who were so self-conscious about their protruding labial lips, they were actually afraid to do particular yoga moves, for fear that someone would notice. Women who go in for Brazilian wax or laser hair removal also dreaded their experiences. Read more about New Yorkers’ labiaplasty experiences here: http://nypost.com/2015/10/28/women-are-getting-labiaplasty-to-look-good-in-their-yoga-pants.
“This surgery, which so many scorn and misunderstand, has finally brought me to a place where I like my body, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that,” explains a woman at XOJane.com.
Medical literature supports the anecdotal evidence, with overall patient satisfaction in the 90-95 percent range, according to a 2011 review published by the National Institutes of Health.
Experts say the best way to know for sure if this surgery is right for you is to gauge results in labiaplasty before and after photos. Labias come in all different shapes, sizes and conditions. Find the “before” photo that looks most like your case and see what sort of transformation is possible to determine if a labiaplasty is what you want and need.
Other vaginal surgery options to attain your aesthetic and functional goals may include: clitoral hood reduction, hymenoplasty, G-spot augmentation, monsplasty, or vaginoplasty.
The labiaplasty price has remained fairly consistent over the years, even as new technology comes out. The cost of labiaplasty is related to the following variables:
When obtaining quotes, it’s important to know what is included. Some clinics may offer a quote based solely on the surgeon and facility fees, without including the cost of anesthesia, post-op recovery drugs, or follow-up visits.
Many women wonder, “Is labiaplasty covered by insurance?” In most cases, labiaplasty is viewed as an elective procedure and will not be covered by insurance. In rare cases, individuals may be able to prove that they are suffering from serious health issues related to the size of the labia. Excessive damage following childbirth, cancer, disease or infection may warrant coverage, for instance.
Most surgeon offices work with patients to set up affordable payment plans. To learn more about financing options available for labiaplasty surgery in NYC, contact Dr. Loeb’s office today.
Labiaplasty carries the same risks as any other surgical procedure – swelling, tenderness, discomfort, bleeding, infection and scarring. In addition, patients may temporarily have pain during urination or intercourse. There is a chance that revision surgery will be necessary to provide the desired result – and, “because the tissue is rich in nerve endings, you may be left with reduced sensitivity,” cautions the UK National Health Service. To read more, go here: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/labiaplasty/Pages/Introduction.aspx#risks.
About an hour after surgery, you’ll need someone to drive you home and help you out for the first few days when it’s harder to move around and go about daily life. Swelling, bruising and pain is to be expected, particularly during the first week. Patients are sent home with pain medication to help them get through this period. Patients should not drive until they are off narcotics. Rest and a balanced diet with plenty of fluids and fresh fruit is advisable. Walking will reduce swelling and the risk of blood clots. Some oozing and draining at the incision site is normal, so absorbent pads should be worn. The full results should be evident in about four to six months.
Labiaplasty recovery tips include:
To learn more about the patient recovery process following labiaplasty, see here: http://messageboards.makemeheal.com/vaginoplasty-labiaplasty/detailed-recovery-from-labiaplasty-t156737.html.
Dr. Thomas W. Loeb is a board-certified labiaplasty plastic surgeon in New York City with over 25 years of experience.
Those interested in learning more about labiaplasty are invited to contact Dr. Loeb directly at 212-327-3700. He offers consultations at his Fifth Avenue office in Manhattan or remotely via Skype.