Labiaplasty, or labia contouring as it is sometimes referred to, is a procedure which reduces or reshapes the labia. The labia is essentially the vaginal lips which cover the clitoris and the vaginal opening. Though there is no ‘standard’ when it comes to the shape and size of the labia, many women experience daily difficulty as a result of prolonged labia minora (inner) or majora (outer). Rectification of longer or asymmetrical labia can be conducted by means of a labiaplasty which is performed by a gynaecologist who is skilled in aesthetics or by a plastic surgeon.
Reasons that women opt to undergo labia contouring include discomfort during sexual intercourse & exercise as well as frequent infections and itchiness. Sometimes women simply wish to alter the area for purely cosmetic purposes, as they experience a severe lack of self-esteem and sexual confidence. If you are interested in what the procedure entails, a qualified professional will talk you through the process. Many specialists resolve to only perform the procedure if they feel there is an adequate need for it. Any surgical procedure has risks and should only really be considered if there is a valid reason.
The procedure, which is more commonly conducted on the labia minora, is performed under local anaesthetic in an operating room. There are a number of ways a labiaplasty is conducted, the most frequently used being the trim or curvilinear technique, V-labiaplasty or central wedge resection and the de-epithelisation technique. A labiaplasty can take up to two hours to complete and patients are usually able to go home after the anaesthetic has worn off. Discomfort when sitting and when urinating can be expected as well as bloody discharge and some moderate bruising. The numbness has also been reported through this is usually temporary. Patients are also to avoid sexual intercourse for 6 weeks after the procedure. The clitoral hood reduction may accompany the procedure as it is common for the clitoris to appear larger once the modifications to the labia have been made.
Women in South Africa are becoming increasingly interested in the treatment and as a result, access to a labiaplasty in Johannesburg and Cape Town is on the rise. It is essential that those looking to have the procedure done to consult with a qualified and experienced medical practitioner. The consequences of a poorly-executed surgical procedure are dire so avoid this by doing proper research and consulting with trusted specialists.
Labiaplasty treatment, among other aesthetic gynaecological treatments, is no stranger to controversy. Though it is important to acknowledge that labia can look very different and still be normal, women who seek to make small modifications to their labia should not be considered in a negative light. Taking control of your comfort and sexuality is empowering for a woman so should not be discouraged. Check out labialibrary.org for more insight into the wonderful world of female labia and prepare to be amazed at just how inclusive the range of ‘normal labia’ is.