Like all parts of our bodies, women’s labia come in all shapes and sizes. Labiaplasty is a cosmetic procedure that surgically reduces the outer folds of the female labia which can help women boost their confidence and feel more comfortable.
What is labiaplasty?
Labiaplasty is the surgical reduction of the outer folds of the female labia. It is also known as ‘labia majora surgery’, ‘labia minora surgery’, ‘labia reduction surgery’ and ‘labioplasty’.
Why would a woman choose to consider labiaplasty?
Like other parts of our bodies, women’s labia come in all shapes and sizes – a large range of genital appearances can be healthy and normal.
Some women have very large labial folds of tissue that cause discomfort.
The friction can be a problem and women may feel self-conscious and uncomfortable or be unable to wear tight clothing such as gym leggings or g-string underwear. Activities such as running, bike riding and horse riding may cause great discomfort. At the extreme, very large labia can make sex uncomfortable and affect relationships.
In the last few decades, pubic hair fashion has changed. Women who choose to shave, use brazillian waxing, or laser hair removal may be more aware and concerned about their labial appearance and may wish to make subtle changes to achieve their own ideal. Some women have labia that appear very uneven from side to side and wish to achieve a more even appearance. For the right patients, labiaplasty can help women feel more feminine, more confident and much more comfortable.
Are their health benefits to labiaplasty?
Labiaplasty is a cosmetic procedure (designed to help women feel happier about the way they look) and does not convey health benefits or heighten sexual pleasure. Having said this, for some women improved comfort and sexual confidence can lead to improved quality of life and self–esteem benefits.
Because in most cases there is not a medical indication for labiaplasty, the procedure is not subsidized under Medicare.
However, your consultation appointments to see Dr Raelia Lew to seek her advice about labiaplasty as an expert gynaecologist will achieve a Medicare rebate. To claim this rebate, a GP referral to Dr Lew is required.
The labiaplasty operation
The procedure is performed in an operating theatre under a general anaesthetic. Dr Lew gently and subtly reduces the excess tissue around the inner and outer labial lips using diathermy energy (minimizing tissue inflammation). Her aim is to expertly reshape and beautify the labial appearance. Most women can return to work within a week and sexual activity can resume after 3-4 weeks.
Why choose an expert gynaecologist for labiaplasty?
Many doctors who perform labiaplasty are plastic surgeons or cosmetic surgeons who are often ‘self-taught’ in regards to female genital surgery. When considering treatment to the female genital area, it makes sense to choose a doctor with formal training and expertise in genital surgery. Dr Lew achieved advanced training in labial and vaginal repair and reconstruction. She has extensive experience in repair of labial and vaginal tears from birth related traumatic injury, successfully treating hundreds of women. She has translated this skillset, applying principles and techniques from both gynaecology and plastic surgery to achieve the best cosmetic outcomes for her patients.
As a female gynaecologist, Dr Lew is easy to talk to about the slightly embarrassing subject of labiaplasty and makes her patients feel comfortable and secure.
What to expect at your first consultation:
At your first consultation, Dr Lew will assess you holistically to understand the issues that are important to you. You can speak with her about all aspects of your gynaecological health and even about your future fertility.
You will have a genital examination where you can show Dr Lew what aspects of your labial appearance you would like to enhance. She will counsel you about the risks of labiaplasty surgery and about what she believes can be achieved in your particular case.
What is the cost of labiaplasty?
The cost of your initial gynaecological consultation with Dr Lew will be $290.
If you decide to proceed with labiaplasty surgery, you will be given an all-inclusive quote for your hospital admission, procedure and aftercare costs with no other costs to pay. There are many individual variables but as an indication labia minora reduction starts off at around $4900.
What are the risks of labiaplasty?
All surgical procedures carry inherent risk. Possible complications of labiaplasty include the following:
- Risks associated with a general anaesthetic;
- Risk of post-operative infection or blood clot;
- Risk of bruising and swelling (haematoma);
- Risk of excessive bleeding;
- Risk of a slower recovery than anticipated; or
- Risk of scarring/dissatisfaction with your cosmetic outcome.
Fortunately, in the case of labiaplasty these risks are rare. The skin of the labia is moist, flexible, and in general heals quickly and very well. Infection is most unlikely as the procedure is performed under sterile conditions and you will be given preventative antibiotics during the operation.
What to expect during post-operative “down time”:
You will have your procedure as a day case, and will discharged home about 2 hours later. During the first few days you will use a labial cool pack to reduce swelling and use regular pain relief medications.
Your initial scar should heal within 1 week and you will see Dr Lew for review 1-2 weeks post-operatively for review (and also earlier if you need).
Your dissolvable stiches will fall out between 1 and 4 weeks.
You may choose to resume your sex life at 3-4 weeks.
Swelling will be present for up to six weeks. It is only then that the final cosmetic outcome will be judged.
Contact us and visit our Melbourne clinic to book your labiaplasty consultation with Dr Raelia Lew.