Each woman has a uniquely shaped labia minora. However, there are many reasons women may experience an enlarged, irregularly shaped, or asymmetrical labia minora. Changes can occur to the labia minor during puberty, childbirth, or menopause. An enlarged or asymmetrical labia may cause functional issues as well as cosmetic concerns regarding its appearance.
As the labia is a very intimate area, it’s only natural to have questions and concerns about having a surgical procedure to address your cosmetic concerns. One of the most commonly asked questions about how long the longevity of labiaplasty results lasts.
At Ann Arbor Plastic Surgery, double board-certified Dr. Tiffany Ballard specializes in performing labiaplasty, customizing each procedure with the goal of creating natural-looking results for each patient. During your private consultation, Dr. Ballard can help you determine the right labiaplasty solution for you and answer your questions, including how long do labiaplasty results last.
What Is Labiaplasty, and How Does It Work?
Labiaplasty is a surgical procedure performed to reduce the size the labia minora, the skin folds that surround the vagina and urethra. Labial hypertrophy, or the redundant skin of the labia minora, is a condition where the inner skin folds (labia minora) of the vulva are longer than the outer folds (labia majora). This condition can cause both cosmetic and functional concerns as this excess tissue may lead to pain during tampon or menstrual cup use, sexual intimacy, or strenuous workouts. Physical activities can also result in skin irritation and chafing as the excess skin can become twisted or pinched.
Even if enlarged labia do not cause functional issues, some women will pursue labiaplasty due to cosmetic concerns. During labiaplasty, the labia minora are surgically trimmed to remove the redundant tissue, reduce the size of the labia, improve symmetry, and create a more youthful-looking labial area.
Labiaplasty surgery can also help improve hygiene and reduce the risk of urinary tract infections by eliminating redundant tissues that may conceal unwanted bacteria.
How Labiaplasty Works
To reduce the size of the labia minora, Dr. Ballard has two common approaches: trim excision technique or wedge excision technique. During your private consultation, Dr. Ballard will perform a physical examination to determine which technique would best suit your anatomy. She will also determine whether a clitoral hood reduction would benefit you as well.
Trim Excision Technique: Using this technique, Dr. Ballard will create an incision along the length of the labia minora to excise the excess tissue.
Wedge Excision Technique: In this procedure, Dr. Ballard will create a wedge resection that removes a central wedge of the labia minora in a V-shaped pattern, preserving the natural border of the inner labia.
Am I a Candidate for Ann Arbor Labiaplasty?
Generally, good candidates for labiaplasty are women who are mentally and physically fit. Patients should maintain realistic expectations for their surgical results and a positive outlook. Labiaplasty does not alter or tighten the vaginal opening. Instead, it is intended to improve the symmetry of and reduce the size of enlarged labia minora.
Dr. Ballard also recommends candidates for labiaplasty should:
- Live a healthy lifestyle with a BMI under 30
- Be non-smokers, or willing to quit two weeks prior to and after surgery
- Have no medical conditions that impair healing
- Understand the surgical risks
- Be willing to thoroughly follow post-operative instructions
How Long Does the Recovery Process Take After Labiaplasty?
As labiaplasty is performed in a delicate area, you should expect some pain and discomfort after your procedure. Typically, patients will experience stinging and pulsing in the vaginal area for the first 24 to 48 hours and swelling that reaches its peak in four to five days after the procedure.
Typically, patients who follow Dr. Ballard’s post-operative instructions regarding icing the treatment area and resting have quicker recovery with less discomfort. Full recovery takes approximately six to eight weeks. During this time, you may need to avoid sexual intimacy and strenuous activities like exercising.
Are the Results of Labiaplasty Permanent?
There are many reasons patients consider labiaplasty procedures, including but not limited to age, post-weight loss, or post-childbirth. Prior to surgery, many patients have a multitude of questions, including about the permanency of results.
One of the most commonly asked questions about labiaplasty is the longevity of the results. The good news is that in almost all cases, labiaplasty results are permanent because the extra skin of the labia is excised, or surgically removed, so there’s no chance of it growing back. You should be able to enjoy your labiaplasty results as soon as your recovery time is finished.
With permanent labiaplasty results, you may enjoy a greater quality of life. By restoring the appearance of the labia, you will be able to perform activities like bike riding, exercising, wearing form-fitting clothing, or dressing intimately without considering the appearance or discomfort of an enlarged labia.
Labiaplasty only impacts the appearance and comfort of the labia; it does not affect fertility, sexual intimacy and intercourse, orgasms, or other functions. However, your optimal labiaplasty results may be somewhat impacted by pregnancy and vaginal childbirth after your procedure.
While labiaplasty results are typically permanent, there are some cases where results may be impacted. As each patient will experience unique results, based on their bodily responses and experiences, including aging, traumatic childbirth, pregnancy, or other trauma, the recovery and longevity of results may vary.
What Factors Can Affect the Longevity of Labiaplasty Results?
Typically, labiaplasty results are permanent. However, some factors may affect labiaplasty results. To look at the factors that can impact the longevity of your labiaplasty results, it’s important to first look at the reasons the appearance of the labia can change in the first place.
Pregnancy and childbirth are factors that change the appearance of the labia. Having labiaplasty prior to pregnancy may essentially reverse the original results of your labiaplasty. It’s important to wait until you are finished growing your family through pregnancy and childbirth to have labiaplasty.
Significant weight fluctuations and aging skin can also impact the size and appearance of the labia. Menopause or hormonal changes due to aging can thin the labia majora tissue, which impacts the labia minora. While there is little we can do about aging, we can exercise some control over our weight fluctuations.
How Can You Maximize the Longevity of Labiaplasty Results?
Labiaplasty results are typically permanent; however, there are a few factors that may help increase the longevity of your results.
As pregnancy and childbirth is one of the leading causes of labia changes, it’s important to note that getting pregnant following labiaplasty may affect your original results. Most women choose to postpone their labiaplasty procedures until after they are finished with pregnancy and childbirth.
Another cause of labia changes is significant weight fluctuations. As weight fluctuations can impact labia appearance, it stands to reason that weight fluctuations may also impact labiaplasty results. So, it’s important to maintain your stable weight through healthy lifestyle choices, such as a consistent exercise program and nutritious diet.
Are There Any Risks or Complications Associated with Labiaplasty Results Fading?
While labiaplasty results are typically permanent, there are a few factors that may affect your optimal results. Recovery from your labiaplasty is an important time to avoid risks and complications.
Rushing your recovery from labiaplasty by engaging in strenuous activities or sexual intimacy prior to receiving permission from your surgeon may put too much pressure on your incisions and greatly impact your results. Take the required 6-week recovery time to rest and thoroughly heal.
While complications from labiaplasty are infrequent, risks associated with labiaplasty surgery may include the removal of too much or not enough tissue. Bleeding, bruising, and infection are also concerns if you don’t take enough time to recover. So, it’s important to follow all post-operative instructions provided by your surgeon.
While labiaplasty procedures focus on removing redundant skin that has very few or no nerve endings, most patients experience low risks for changes in sensation. However, severe complications can include continued pain and discomfort during sexual intimacy or loss of sensation. As Dr. Ballard specializes in performing labiaplasty, she is quite knowledgeable about the relevant anatomy to prevent loss sensation to avoid these side effects. During your private consultation, Dr. Ballard will discuss the risks of sensation loss following labiaplasty with you.
Other Risk Factors
Pregnancy and childbirth are two common reasons for the labia to become stretched out. Prospective patients should understand that pregnancy following labiaplasty may impact the original results and require a second labiaplasty procedure to restore the results.
Another factor that may impact the longevity of your optimal labiaplasty results is significant weight gain. Following labiaplasty, it’s important to maintain your healthy weight through a consistent exercise program and nutritious diet.
While aging may impact all skin, it may also slightly affect labiaplasty results. Menopause and its hormonal changes may impact the thin tissue and skin of the labia.
Can You Get Labiaplasty Again if You’re Not Satisfied with the Results?
Typically, labiaplasty is meant to be a one-time, long-lasting procedure. You may never need to have a second labiaplasty unless you develop severe complications. However, it is possible to have a second labiaplasty if your original results have become compromised due to pregnancy, childbirth, or significant weight fluctuations.
So, the short answer is yes, it is possible to have labiaplasty for a second time if your results have been compromised.
How to Choose a Qualified and Experienced Labiaplasty Surgeon
Choosing the right plastic surgeon is one of the most important decisions of your labiaplasty journey. With so many plastic surgeon options available, it’s often difficult to know if you’ve chosen the right surgeon for you.
You should consider many factors when choosing your labiaplasty surgeon. The first factor you should consider is board certification. When you choose a board-certified plastic surgeon, you are selecting a doctor who values and maintains extremely high standards of education, knowledge, and skills.
Along with board-certification, it’s important to look at your plastic surgeon’s performance record and reputation. With an extensive successful performance record and an impeccable reputation, you can rest assured that your plastic surgeon will provide the appropriate care throughout your cosmetic surgery journey. To get a feel for your surgeon, research their credentials, ask to view their portfolio of before-and-after patient results, and read any patient testimonials.
By choosing a plastic surgeon who has had several years of performing labiaplasty surgeries, you’re ensuring that you’re putting your health, safety, and best results in their good hands. Having substantial experience performing labiaplasty procedures means that your surgeon has developed the ability to mitigate risks and complications easier than a less experienced surgeon. With many successful labiaplasty procedures, your surgeon has gained expertise and knowledge over many years of training.
Another important factor to consider when choosing your labiaplasty surgeon is that your plastic surgeon should present themselves as a professional, honest, and compassionate person with whom you feel comfortable. You should feel confident trusting your surgeon and openly communicating with them.
Choosing Dr. Tiffany Ballard at Ann Arbor Plastic Surgery for Your Labiaplasty
As one of the only female board-certified cosmetic plastic surgeons in the Ann Arbor area and an experienced labiaplasty surgeon in Michigan, Dr. Tiffany Ballard offers her patients a unique understanding of their concerns. Dr. Ballard specializes in labiaplasty and clitoral hood reduction, which allows her patients to feel comfortable and confident in their choice of surgeon.