Everyone deserves to feel comfortable, confident, and beautiful in their own skin. Having a plastic surgery procedure often results in improved mental health, increased self-esteem, and overall happiness. Despite not being as popularly and openly discussed as breast augmentation or tummy tucks, labiaplasty surgery is a very common surgical procedure performed by plastic surgeons.
A labiaplasty is a surgery performed on either part of the labia to reshape and either enlarge or minimize the size of the skin folds. There are many benefits to a labiaplasty, with the procedure performed for either aesthetic or medical reasons. Like with any major surgery, it’s important to understand the labiaplasty surgery recovery process.
Let’s explore some of the major questions women have about what to expect after a labiaplasty.
What Should I Expect After My Labiaplasty Surgery?
Like with any surgery, it is expected that you will experience some pain, bruising, and discomfort after your labiaplasty. With some patience, rest, and aftercare techniques, you can be back on your feet within a few days and return to physical activities in a few weeks.
Swelling, Itching, and Bruising
On the first day after your surgery, the labia minora, labia majora, and even the clitoris (which was not cut during the procedure) will become very swollen. It’s important to expect your vulva to be engorged and not to look what you might consider “normal.” The swelling should subside over the next few days of recovery with the proper care.
It’s also very normal for the area around your incision to become itchy- this is your body’s natural reaction to the healing process. It will take a lot of willpower not to irritate and scratch, but you do not want to risk the potential of tearing open your stitches or infecting the area.
Avoid touching the skin directly unless it is to apply a pain ointment to your scar. If your itching persists beyond the first few days, see your doctor for a follow-up appointment to be sure you are not suffering from a yeast or bacterial infection.
Bleeding and Drainage
There is a potential for some light bleeding or drainage from the incision area. This is completely normal and expected, which is one of the reasons you should refrain from too much moving around in the first few days and should not be working within the first week. Wear a light pad so that you do not bleed or soak through your clothing.
After six or seven days, your swelling, itching, bruising, and spotting will begin to subside and you will turn a corner in your recovery process. As you move into the second week of recovery, you will find you are experiencing much less pain and discomfort than before.
The stitches used during your labiaplasty will dissolve and be completely gone sometime around weeks two or three of your recovery process. Once the stitches dissolve, the scar tissue becomes firm, but after several months it will entirely soften back to a natural state. While there will be a scar, your board-certified plastic surgeon will hide the incision within the folds of your labia minora, making it nearly undetectable even to your gynecologist.
How Do I Treat My Labiaplasty Pain?
In the first couple of days after surgery, applying a cold compress to the area for 15 minutes at a time will significantly help with both pain and swelling. Be sure to remove the compress after 15 minutes so that you do not damage or burn your skin.
Take your doctor-recommended pain relief medication, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or whatever your doctor has prescribed. If prescribed a lidocaine ointment, apply it gently and directly to the scar.
After finishing the first week of recovery, you will begin to taper off your need for medications. Speak directly to your labiaplasty plastic surgeon if you have questions about your pain management prescriptions or if the pain continues to get worse over time.
Treating Pain While Urinating
One of the more difficult tasks during your recovery will be when you need to use the bathroom. Because of the sensitive placement of a labiaplasty surgery, it is likely going to sting when you need to pee. A good tip is to keep a spray bottle filled with water near the toilet. As you urinate, gently spray the incision area with water to alleviate some of the stinging sensations and to keep the area clean.
What Labiaplasty Aftercare Procedures Should I Follow?
Lukewarm water and soap should be used to cleanse the area. Avoid rubbing the surgical area, as too much pressure or irritation can cause the stitches to stretch or break. Disruption of the stitches and opening of the wound can lead to infection or other complications. Be careful to just dab or gently wipe after peeing or during bathing.
The best ways to care for your personal hygiene during the recovery process are to:
- Avoid bathing, swimming, or soaking in water until cleared by your physician.
- Take only showers, and when exiting the shower gently pat the area with a clean towel or cloth before reapplying a bandage.
- Avoid fragrant or exfoliating soaps of any kind, using only warm water to cleanse.
- Wear clean undergarments, preferably made of 100% cotton.
- Wear breathable fabrics that are loose-fitting and will not irritate the area.
When Can I Return to Physical Activity?
The labiaplasty recovery process should have you returning back to work and light activities only a week after surgery. If your job requires more physically intense duties like lifting or bending, staying home up to a week after surgery will make more sense so healing is not delayed.
Strenuous exercise, sexual activity, and physical activities like running, swimming, and cycling should not be performed until week six of the labiaplasty recovery process.
Schedule Your Labiaplasty Surgery Consultation with Our Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon
You deserve to feel confident and beautiful in your own body! If you think labiaplasty surgery is an option for you or if you would like to learn more about the procedure and your options, our board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Ortiz can help. Schedule a consultation at our plastic surgery center in North Raleigh today by calling 919-532-2270 or filling out the form below to get started.