Labiaplasty Recovery & Healing Time
Labiaplasty, as any other surgical procedure, requires a recovery period. Unlike most other surgical procedures, labial reduction surgery does not include any type of severe morbidity. In other words, many times after labioplasty the patient is able to return to her professional responsibilities in a matter of days. Post operative limitations to labiaplasty recovery include no douching, tampons or intercourse for a period of six to eight weeks. To appreciate what is involved with labiaplasty, we will describe the various milestones that occur in the immediate and long-term recovery period.
Surgery of the labia minora and the labia majora usually require 6 to 8 weeks for full recovery. Full recovery usually entails a return to normal sexual activity without pain or mild discomfort. Full recovery also means that there will be no further pain for the patient whether she has a physical demanding job or she is sitting for many hours behind the desk.
Patient recovery instructions immediately post operatively include: limiting time on the patient’s feet, ice to the vulva intermittently to reduce swelling and no tight fitted clothing. Pain medication in the immediate recovery period usually will include some form of narcotic. This usually involves acetaminophen combined with an opioid. Many patients are able to control postoperative labiaplasty pain with nothing more than ibuprofen. As time goes on neither analgesic is needed. Almost always pre-operative antibiotics are given for labiaplasty surgery. While this use of prophylactic antibiotics usually prevents recovery infections, it is not a guarantee. Patient should be on the lookout for painful swelling or pus coming out of the suture line.
Swelling is very normal in the first two weeks of recovery. Painful swelling could also mean there is a collection of blood, better known as a hematoma. Blood can collect between the two leafs of the labial tissue if there was any inadequate hemostasis intraoperatively. Fortunately, the labia minora anatomically allows for minimal potential space for a hematoma. Unfortunately, the labia majora does offer more potential for larger hematoma and the spread of blood. While this is a rare complication, nevertheless it can occur. Most hematomas resolve themselves by the fourth week. Any evidence of such complications will be observed by the physician in the first and second week.
Infections are usually treated with appropriate antibiotics. Infections and hematomas can cause a breakdown of the labial incision. This is called a dehiscence. This skin separation usually heals spontaneously by week five or six, of the recovery period. The blood supply to the labia is very rich and sufficient to promote good healing. Some doctors will simply prescribe supplements to enhance healing.
The recovery period for both the labia majora and minora reduction surgery does not mean that the patient should remain-bedridden. On the contrary, the first days of a labia reduction surgery recovery requires approximately 3 to 4 days of the patient being off her feet, with on and off icing of the labia, to reduce swelling. However, after that time, the physician will introduce more and more activity as the recovery progresses. The patient is allowed to ambulate almost immediately, depending on how quickly the patient recovers. More activity such as running can occur by week six. Obviously, bike riding, horseback riding and similar activities should not occur until week eight of the recovery.
Finally, sexual activity can resume if healing is complete and there is no discomfort on examination. In conclusion, barring any unforeseen complications, labiaplasty surgery has a relatively comfortable recovery period imposing very few limitations on the patient.