Female Genital Surgery

Female Genital Surgery

The term female genital plastic surgery covers several different procedures. Among the procedures that comprise female genital plastic surgery are labiaplastyand vaginoplasty.

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What is a labiaplasty?

The term labiaplasty refers to a procedure that reduces the length of the labia minora/majora. It is the most commonly performed female genital plastic surgery procedure and it can relieve symptoms women experience from twisting of the labia.

What does a labiaplasty do?

The goal of the procedure is to reduce the labia. A labiaplasty may be performed to reduce asymmetry when one is longer than the other, or, more commonly, to reduce the length of both labia so that the labia no longer twist or fall out of a bathing suit.

Recovering from a labiaplasty

Most patients take a week off from work, during which they can reduce swelling and pain by icing with a cold pack for 10 minutes three time daily. This is to help reduce the postoperative swelling in the area.

Recovery takes approximately 4 weeks and patients are advised against heavy exercises and physical intimacy during this period. Most of the swelling has disappeared by 6 weeks.Most patients are much relieved of their symptoms and find relief after surgery.


Vaginoplasty or posterior colporrhaphy is a procedure designed to tighten the vagina. An alternative is noninvasive vaginal tightening through heating tissues with radiofrequency waves or laser. Patients with significant laxity may not experience a benefit from these treatments and may be better candidates for surgical tightening with vaginoplasty.

Reasons patients want a vaginoplasty

After childbirth, women may complain of vaginal laxity, resulting from stretching of tissues and separating of muscles, sometimes to the point that a tampon falls out, and this lack of tone can contribute to sexual dysfunction. Rarely some women are born with vaginal agenesis a very distressing condition.

Vaginoplasty procedure

A vaginoplasty brings the separated muscles together, and the extra mucosa skin from the back side of the vagina is removed. The external skin can also be removed for a more aesthetic appearance.While a vaginoplasty can be done under local anesthesia in a proper setting, it is usually done under general anesthesia. Once the amount of tightening to be done is determined, a pie-shape wedge is marked to delineate the extra skin to be removed from inside the vagina. The underlying tissues are also tightened with strong sutures. Once the vaginal canal has been tightened, the mucosal skin is sutured closed. Risks from vaginoplasty include infection, bleedinand pain. Patients may have one to two weeks of down time. Recovery takes approximately 6 – 8 weeks.

In some patients with vaginal agenesis at birth,vaginoplasty is performed by surgically creating a vaginal canal and lining it with a skin graft, This is usually done around the time of puberty to create a vaginal canal to facilitate sexual function later on. Post vaginoplasty these patients are placed on a regime of vaginal dilatation for 6 – 9 months in order for the canal to stay dilated. Sexual function is inadvisable during the first year of treatment. This is an extremely rewarding procedure and most patients are able to regain their normal function as well as self esteem following this procedure.