More women are now opting to have vaginal cosmetic surgery and a labiaplasty is the commonest procedure performed. This involves reshaping the labial minora (the inner lips), to produce a neater, smoother shape, usually reducing their size, and in some cases improving symmetry.

Benefits of a labiaplasty

There are a number of reasons why you may want to have a labiaplasty – everyone’s genitalia are different, and often it just comes down to personal preference as to whether you’d like to improve their appearance. If you feel your labia are irregular in shape, asymmetric or overly large, then you may feel more confident after a labiaplasty.

Other reasons to choose this treatment include discomfort or irritation experienced during some sports (such as cycling) or when wearing tight clothing. You may also have noticed a change in the appearance of your labia after childbirth – due to stretching – so this may be something you wish to rectify with surgery.

What does a labiaplasty involve?

Labiaplasty is performed under a short general anaesthetic as a day case. Areas that are irregular, asymmetric or overly large are removed or adjusted and a more attractive appearance created. You’ll find that you will still have a very natural look after your surgery, as the scars are hidden in the natural folds of the labia and the outer edge of the labia is preserved. The size and shape of the labia can be adjusted without sacrificing sensitivity, including around your clitoris. The procedure itself takes up to an hour.

What should I expect during my recovery?

Post-operatively, surgical pads are worn and changed regularly with close attention to hygiene. Topical antibiotic ointment is applied and antibiotics are taken for a week post-op. You should expect some mild swelling in the first week but this is usually settled by two weeks. The sutures used during the operation are soft, fine and absorbable, and drop out easily around two weeks post-op. By this time, most of the healing is complete too.

Exercise should be limited for between two to three weeks and you should also delay any sexual intercourse for around four weeks.