Medically reviewed by Mr. Omar Tillo — MD, MS, EBOPRAS, FRCS (Plast)
A labiaplasty is a cosmetic surgery to reshape and reduce the size of the labia minora, the inner skin of the vaginal folds. After undergoing a labiaplasty, it is important that you follow the aftercare instructions given by your surgeon. In this article, we will discuss the different tips and tricks that will help ease swelling and other common side effects to ensure you have the smoothest recovery possible.
What to Expect After Labiaplasty
You may notice a range of common side effects as your body heals from a labiaplasty procedure.
Swelling of the labia following a labiaplasty procedure is a common side effect that many women may experience. This occurs as the body sends inflammatory cells to clear bacteria and other toxins around the incision sites to prevent infection as the skin heals.
Following a labiaplasty, you may notice some light “spotting.” This is not to be confused with the appearance of light bleeding from your vagina as a result of hormonal fluctuation. Instead, this is blood from the incisions made during surgery. A small amount of blood is normal, but any excessive or continuous bleeding is not and should be reported to your surgeon immediately.
Like spotting, discharge from the incisions after a labiaplasty is common as the area heals. Small amounts of odourless discharge are normal, but any excessive discharge that is foul-smelling in nature should be brought to the attention of your doctor.
You may experience some discomfort as the incisions made during your surgery heal. This is usually a result of the inflammation of the area and should gradually dissipate as swelling reduces. If you are experiencing excessive discomfort or pain that you can’t manage at home, it is important that you let your surgeon know so that they are able to help.
How Long Does Swelling Last After Labiaplasty?
The time it takes for swelling and inflammation to subside may vary from patient to patient. Typically, swelling lasts a few days but can continue for several weeks as the incisions made during surgery heal.
Labiaplasty Swelling Timeline
In this section, we discuss the typical recovery process after a labiaplasty with information on what you can expect from swelling at each milestone.
Immediately after your labiaplasty, you will spend some time in recovery until you feel comfortable leaving the clinic. Before leaving, your surgeon will provide you with full aftercare instructions as well as any necessary prescriptions for pain relief.
At this stage, swelling in the inner and outer labia are normal. The surrounding tissues, including the skin that covers the clitoris, may also appear inflamed due to the increased levels of inflammatory cells in the area. You may also notice some discomfort or stinging as you pee due to the inflammation. However, this is temporary and should recede as the incisions heal.
To manage swelling in the first few days, you can apply a cold compress to the area to soothe the labia. You should only keep the compress on the area for 15 minutes at a time to prevent damage to the skin. If you notice pain or discomfort while you pee, spray the area with water while urinating to manage this. Furthermore, you should take any pain medication as prescribed by your surgeon to manage associated discomfort.
You may notice that swelling increases in the first few days as your body heals. This is normal so try not to worry, but do report any increasing pain or excessive swelling to your surgeon. You can continue to use a spray bottle while urinating and a cold compress in short bursts if permitted by your surgeon.
By the 6th or 7th day, you should notice a small improvement in the swelling of the area. Associated discomfort may still be present but should also be reduced. At this stage, you will likely be tapering off pain medication but exact instructions regarding prescriptions will be given by your surgeon.
After a week, you will have your first follow-up appointment with your surgeon to monitor your progress and side effects such as swelling. If you have any concerns regarding your recovery, this can be discussed at consultation.
Swelling should continue to reduce over the two weeks following surgery. At this point, patients usually feel comfortable enough to resume most light, daily activities, including a return to office work.
6 to 8 Weeks
After 6 to 8 weeks, the labiaplasty stitches will have dissolved, and the incision sites should be fully healed, meaning swelling should be significantly reduced. However, it may take up to 12 weeks for swelling to subside entirely, after which you will be able to enjoy the full results of your labiaplasty.
Tips to Reduce Swelling Time After Labiaplasty
It is important that you follow the personalised aftercare instructions that will be provided by your surgeon to ensure a smooth recovery. In this section, we will discuss various tips and tricks that can help you manage swelling at home after a labiaplasty procedure.
Use A Spray Bottle Filled With Water
Many women report pain and a stinging sensation while peeing after a labiaplasty. To help with this, you can fill a spray bottle with cold water to spray onto the area while urinating. This will provide a soothing sensation and ease discomfort.
Take A Few Days Off Work
It is important that you give your body time to heal as you recuperate from surgery. During the first few days, any side effects such as swelling will be more pronounced, and, as such, you should rest until they ease.
Abstain From Sex
You will not be able to have sex for the first 6-8 weeks after a labiaplasty procedure. Sex causes friction that can lead to the stitches tearing. In addition, sex can bring bacteria to the incision sites, which can cause additional swelling and delay healing further.
Remove Pubic Hair
You should not wax or shave your pubic hair until 8 weeks after surgery. This is to give time for the incision sites to heal completely.
Take Pain Pills As Directed By Your Surgeon
After your labiaplasty procedure, your surgeon will prescribe you pain relief to manage any discomfort. Your surgeon will advise on what to take and when as part of your aftercare instructions, and it is important to follow these to ensure the smoothest recovery possible.
Use A Cold Compress
After your labiaplasty surgery, using a cold compress can help relieve swelling and discomfort. You should ensure that the compress is wrapped in a small towel so that it doesn’t stick to the area or cause cold injuries or further aggravation.
Use A Donut Pillow
A donut pillow can add comfort while sitting after a labiaplasty. This reduces the pressure put on the labia and the surrounding areas, which can be swollen as a result of the procedure.
Wear Loose Fitting Clothing
Your labia will be prone to irritation from friction as you heal from your labiaplasty procedure. As such, you should wear loose, breathable underwear and clothing to prevent such additional aggravation and swelling.
Is Labiaplasty Worth It?
Many patients consider a labiaplasty to be a worthwhile procedure that has improved their quality of life despite initial swelling following the procedure. This may be as it addresses aesthetic concerns by creating a more symmetrical labia or in alleviating functional issues caused by the excess skin such as chafing during sex or exercise.
Schedule A Labiaplasty Consultation At Creo Clinic
If you are struggling with discomfort due to excess labia tissue or want a more symmetrical-looking labia, a labiaplasty procedure may be right for you.
Here at the CREO Clinic, our double-board certified cosmetic surgeon, Dr Omar Tillo has both the clinical expertise and artistic craftsmanship to create the best labiaplasty results. Contact us today to book a consultation with Dr Tilllo and find out how labiaplasty can be tailored to you and your needs.