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What Are the Benefits of Labiaplasty?

Labiaplasty is life-changing (to be accurate, quality-of-life-changing) for women! The goals of a labiaplasty are to remove excess, redundant labia minor tissue so that a woman feels more comfortable in her skin, with a ‘prettier,’ neater, and tidier external genital area. Most women are thrilled to wear yoga pants free of their prior self-consciousness, they are more comfortable standing naked in front of others without their labia peeking out for others to see, and their physical discomfort is gone!

The majority of tissue removed during a labiaplasty is low-hanging, more darkly pigmented, and irregularly textured (cobble-like texture) labia minora tissue—the inner lips of the outer vagina area. We leave the smoother, lighter pink upper mucosa that provides lubrication and prevents friction to the external genitalia. However, sometimes extra puffy labia majora tissue (from the outer lips) is removed, as well. Lastly, extra folds of skin that drape over the ‘clitoral hood’ are often trimmed to produce a neater appearance to the front of this area.

When a ‘clitoral hood reduction’ is done, there is no chance of injuring the delicate clitoral nerves that provide erogenous sensation and ability to orgasm. The clitoris is in fact a deep, protected constellation of nerves that is far away from the surface of the skin where the trimming is being performed in a labiaplasty.

The results of a labiaplasty are permanent. This is a one-time procedure that will not need to be redone or ‘touched-up’ in the future as a woman ages or has children. As a woman, I would definitely seek a woman Plastic Surgeon if I was considering labiaplasty surgery: she knows the anatomy personally, she can relate to my concerns and specific goals for having this procedure, and I don’t have to be embarrassed if I’m having my period on the day she examines me or on the day of surgery!

By the way, it is “Murphy’s Law” that even if you are not supposed to menstruate for several weeks before surgery, you will likely get your period the day before or soon after surgery. Why? We don’t know exactly. Perhaps it is related to the stress of anticipation before surgery, or the stress of surgery, but a woman’s normal menstrual cycle can get totally out of whack with any Plastic Surgery procedure—not just labiaplasty!

For the first menstrual period after labiaplasty, we recommend using pads rather than tampons. A woman can go back to using tampons on her next menstrual cycle. Sexual intercourse can be resumed at 3–6 weeks after surgery, when a woman feels comfortable with her body. “If it hurts, don’t do it!” is our motto for resuming exercise and sex after labiaplasty surgery.

To learn more about the numerous benefits of labiaplasty, read my website’s labiaplasty blog section and/or contact my practice online or call 415-923-3067 to schedule a consultation with me.  I will help you learn everything you need to know for a comprehensive understanding of this empowering and life-changing procedure for women!

– Karen Horton, MD

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Dr. Karen M. Horton, M.D. - Plastic Surgery, Physicians & Surgeons - Medical-M.D., San Francisco, CA