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What to Expect After Labial Reduction Surgery

Labial reduction is a relatively new cosmetic procedure for women that is designed to decrease the size of the inner labial lips (or labia minora, also known as inner vaginal lips). Many women are bothered by large labia and/or labia minora that are long, bulky and not symmetrical in size. Some women are born with very large labia minora while others develop it after giving birth and still others develop it as they age. Sometimes even hormonal changes can cause the labia to stretch and become larger.

Labial reduction is also called labiaplasty, labia reduction, and labial rejuvenation.

Large labial lips can be a source of discomfort for many women and can make them feel very self-conscious about their bodies. Many women with this condition cannot wear tight fitting clothes because the labia minora rubs up against the clothes and irritates the skin. For some women wearing a bathing suit or skimpy underwear is embarrassing while doing certain activities such as riding a bike can cause a great deal of irritation. Some women are embarrassed for men to see their labia minora during intercourse and it is not uncommon for it to get pulled in and out of the vagina during sexual activity.

During the procedure the plastic surgeon will remove excess labia tissue in such a way to ensure that the cut is done so that there will be no visible scar showing on the front part of the labia. This means that the appearance of the labia is left as intact as possible.

Labial reduction surgery is done in a clinic or hospital on an outpatient basis and is done under local anesthesia. It generally takes anywhere from one to two hours to complete. It is normal to experience some swelling as well as some mild discomfort and soreness and this could last from one to two weeks. Most of the time the labial incisions heal very swiftly and the fact that a woman had surgery is usually not noticeable.

After the surgery is completed, it is important to wear a panty liner for a few days in case of intermittent bleeding. The sutures from surgery are dissolvable and therefore do not need to be removed by the surgeon. Although this surgery is minor it is strongly recommended that the patient take a few days off work (and up to two weeks if necessary) in order to rest, heal and recover as soon as possible.

It is advisable to avoid all strenuous physical activity and vigorous exercise for a period of two to three weeks so as to give the wound time to heal properly. It is important to avoid vaginal intercourse for at least a period of four weeks. Some plastic surgeon will tell patients to wait for six weeks before commencing sexual activity. Avoid using tampons for six weeks and use pads instead. It is recommended that the patient take a gentle shower or bath every day as this can encourage healing. Follow up appointments with the plastic surgeon will be necessary to ensure that the labial lips are healing as they are supposed to.

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