If you have an enlarged or elongated labia you’ll understand the discomfort and pain that comes from riding a bike, crossing your legs or wearing tight clothes. Before getting a labiaplasty, I wouldn’t wear a swimsuit without wearing shorts as well. I feared any chance my elongated “lips” might make an appearance. I remember watching girls at the gym work out on bikes and wonder how they avoided applying painful pressure to their labia.
I just assumed every woman around me had the same problem.
But I quickly realized my friends didn’t share in the discomfort that I did. A quick search on Google showed me I had labia hypertrophy. This is when the labia minora is overdeveloped and disproportionate. I had been self-conscious of my labia before but then I realized that my labia looked different from other women’s. I continued to read and encountered the word “labiaplasty.” I was at once relieved and nervous that there was a surgical procedure to correct oversized labia minoras. I didn’t think too much of it for a few weeks. I continued my usual life and managed my discomfort as well as I could. However, as those weeks progressed, I continue to weigh the idea of a labiaplasty.
I felt isolated, as if I was the only woman who had a long labia. I was self-conscious and embarrassed. I only wanted to wear loose clothing and the idea of being physical with someone was out-of-the-question. A labiaplasty was becoming more and more appealing.
Once again I googled labiaplasties to see if it was a common procedure for women and what the risks were. I was relieved to learn the recovery from labiaplasty was less demanding than I thought it would be. The website for the American Society of Plastic Surgeons popped up and had a lot of good information regarding genital surgery. I was especially relieved to learn that I wasn’t alone and that labiaplasties had become very popular, with 12,000 procedures performed in 2016. Many women receive the surgery for both practical and cosmetic reasons. This information was highly encouraging. I felt comforted and much less isolated.
I started discussing the option with my friends and kept a journal about my thoughts on the surgery. I wanted to make sure I was only considering this surgery for me and my well-being. After a couple weeks of discussions and journal logs, I scheduled an appointment at Aesthetic Laser Center for a consultation. I compared several Oregon cosmetic surgeons, and was impressed with Dr. Lopez’s experience and reviews.
It helped that Dr. Lopez is a woman with years of experience with this sensitive procedure.
In a few days, I got to meet board-certified cosmetic surgeon Dr. Lopez. I asked her what felt like a novella of questions, but she was incredibly patient and helpful. I told her how nervous I was about this decision. Dr. Lopez explained the risks, benefits and different surgical techniques that could be used. She then performed a physical. This was a difficult part for me. I was already so self-conscious and uncomfortable with my body, it was hard discussing such a personal issue. She was gentle and kept talking me through what she was doing and how it would help her perform the surgery. After the physical was complete she explained to me what surgical technique would be best for my body. She walked me through the entire surgery and recovery process. Then we talked about how to prepare for the surgery and what post-op care would look like. After all the information was given to me, I was still a little nervous, but I felt one thing above all else: hopeful! Dr. Lopez made me feel comfortable and confident in what labiaplasty could do for me, as it has done for thousands of other women like me. I made the choice to make my functional and cosmetic desire a reality: We scheduled a date for the surgery.
In the days that lead up to the surgery, I experienced a lot of feelings. All of which I journaled. I was both excited and nervous. I considered backing out; but feeling my labia get twisted in my clothes painfully reminded me why I was going through with the surgery.
The surgery date arrived and I showed up to the appointment in sweatpants. I was definitely feeling a little anxious. I signed in and the nurses helped me get comfortable. An anesthesia and sedative were soon administered… and the next moment I was waking up and the surgery was complete. I was monitored for a short period of time to make sure I was responding okay to the anesthesia. I felt well enough to go home and was given a few final care instructions. We scheduled a follow-up appointment for a few days in the future.
Thankfully, my recovery was very manageable!
I went home feeling excited, numb and a little nervous for recovery. I felt confident in my recovery instructions, but have not always dealt well with pain. For the next few days, I lied in bed, watched movies, and wrote. I would walk for a little bit each day to help with healing and blood circulation. Even at these times I only felt a little discomfort. Prescribed pain medication helped to manage any discomfort.
After a few weeks, I had pretty much fully recovered. At first, I was nervous to look after taking off my remaining bandages. It was different and although I didn’t miss the discomfort that comes with an elongated labia minora, it definitely had changed. After a while, I got accustomed to seeing my inner genitalia. I rejoiced in new little victories: I could wear my swimsuit and not being anxious! I had the option of riding a bike again! Receiving a labiaplasty boosted my confidence, but it also did a lot more. I no longer winced in pain and move about with peace of mind.
Now, looking back after a few months of perspective, I am sure it is one of the best things I have done for myself!
**The above story was written and shared by a labiaplasty patient. Her name has been changed for privacy.
Aesthetic Laser Center Labiaplasty Information
A labiaplasty is a transformational procedure. It benefits many women by improving the aesthetic and functionality of their genitalia. Dr. Lopez approaches each procedure with an individualized, personal touch. She performs the surgeries with a woman’s perspective and gentle approach to give each patient their ideal outcome.
At Aesthetic Laser Center, each patient is attended to with the utmost care and attention. An ideal candidate for a labiaplasty would be a woman who experiences:
- Twisting, tugging or irritation of their labia minora
- Discomfort when wearing tight clothing
- Self-consciousness of the appearance of their exterior genitalia
Having a disproportionate and overdeveloped labia can cause women to feel very uncomfortable with their bodies and its functions. Women can have a difficult time with personal hygiene and may shy away from physical intimacy. A labiaplasty is a relatively quick procedure and will positively impact your life. You deserve to feel comfortable and proud of such a delicate area of your body.
Before the procedure, patients will have a private, personal consultation with Dr. Lopez where they will discuss their aesthetic and practical goals. Dr. Lopez will take appropriate measurements and ask questions about your general health. This information will help her better plan for the upcoming procedure. Pain medications and anesthetics will be discussed to ensure you are comfortable during and after your surgery. There are two types of techniques Dr. Lopez can perform: the trim technique and the wedge technique.
Trim vs. Wedge
The trim technique is the most popular of the two because it provides excellent results with high patient satisfaction. Sometimes called the “edge trim technique,” the procedure removes tissue from the edges of the inner labia along the length of the labia minora. This technique is excellent at reducing the labia size and length. The clitoral hood and tissue surrounding it are not affected.
The wedge technique is performed by removing a “wedge” or “v” shape of tissue from the center of the labia. The remaining tissue is then attached to the sides of the labia. The resulting labia minora is shortened and the skin around the clitoris is more taut.
Both techniques use absorbable sutures to close incisions. Dr. Lopez will work with you to create a personalized procedure that produces your best outcome.
After the operation, you are taken to a recovery room. Cold compresses will be applied to the treated areas to bring down swelling. Patients should spend that first night with a friend or family member to help them adjust and be comfortable. Dr. Lopez will have given you self-care instructions that will help provide your best recovery.
Antibiotics and a cooling anesthetic spray will be provided for patients at their request. We recommend they use cold compresses to help bring down swelling and reduce discomfort.
For the first few days after the procedure, patients will want to lay down so as to avoid putting pressure on their treated area. Standing and going for brief walks will help the patient maintain good blood circulation. We also recommend you wear loose clothes that are easy to get on and off. A follow-up appointment will be scheduled for a few days after the surgery. This appointment will help Dr. Lopez monitor your health as well as inform you when you may exercise and shower again. The sutures will dissolve in about three weeks.
Dr. Lopez provides her patients with personal and attentive care. You will be given her or certified Physician Assistant Richard Linday’s cell phone number. You will have access to them in case you are uncomfortable or concerned. At Aesthetic Laser Center, we take your health and recovery seriously.
The results of a labiaplasty will be immediately noticeable and will continue to improve throughout the recovery period. Final results will be noticed after a month. Labiaplasties are long-lasting and improve the quality of life of many women.
Cost of Labiaplasty in Portland
The cost of a labiaplasty will differ between each patient. The surgery is customizable to address the patient’s needs and unique anatomy. There are many benefits to getting a labiaplasty. These include increased comfort and functionality of the outer genitalia. Women often experience a boost in confidence and self-image.
If you are interested in how a labiaplasty can benefit you and help you feel more comfortable, schedule a personal consultation with Dr. Lopez today at 503-353-0888!