Labial and Vaginal Reconstruction
The main purposes of labial or vaginal reconstructive surgery (labiaplasty and vaginoplasty) are to restore the normal function or appearance of the vagina or the normal size or appearance of the labia. Women can experience problems following childbirth, resulting in birth trauma to the vagina or labia, or they may simply dislike the look and feel.
Conditions that may require labial or vaginal reconstruction:
- Enlarged labia
- Scarring or distortion of the vagina or labia
- Vaginal Laxity
- Labial cysts
- Vaginal cysts
Vaginoplasty (Vaginal tightening)
Vaginoplasty is a procedure which is carried out with the aim of “tightening” the vagina, reinstating strength, tone and control of the vaginal muscles. Concerns about the look and feel of your vagina are common, particularly following the aging process or after childbirth, where the vagina has experienced some trauma.
Vaginal rejuvenation helps to rebuild the pelvic floor where the vaginal tissues and muscles have been stretched. It is also used to reconstruct the perineal area at the vaginal entrance, helping to strengthen these muscles and reduce laxity.
In recent times, vaginoplasty, also known as vaginal rejuvenation has increased in popularity.
Why undergo vaginoplasty?
Stretching of the vagina may occur naturally as a result of the aging process, or following childbirth, where the vagina fails to return to its pre-pregnancy appearance. This vaginal stretching may cause a woman to feel self-conscious about the vagina’s appearance, or may cause physical problems such as stress incontinence and sexual dissatisfaction.
Since the vagina is used for sexual intercourse, any scarring or distortion which may occur through childbirth or aging can also result in pain or discomfort during sex. The vaginal laxity may also create a decrease in sensitivity during sexual intercourse, having a detrimental effect on intimate relationships.
The aim of vaginal reconstructive surgery in these cases is to restore the normal functioning of the vagina by alleviating any adverse symptoms.
As with any surgical procedure, there are some risks associated with undergoing vaginoplasty, which include:
- Risk of infection
- Loss of sensation
Labiaplasty (Labial reduction or reconstruction
Labiaplasty is plastic surgery of the labia, or the ‘”lips” which surround the vagina. It can be carried out on the labia minor (the inner vaginal lips), or the labia major (the outer vaginal lips). The procedure is undertaken with the aim of changing the size or shape of the labia, which can be done for medical or cosmetic reasons. Therefore the goal of labiaplasty is to remove any functional problems which may exist, whilst creating labia that is aesthetically pleasing. Many women seek symmetry or a decrease in size of the labia. Labiaplasty can be performed in conjunction with vaginoplasty, which is the “tightening” of the vagina.
Why undergo labiaplasty?
There are several reasons as to why women may choose to undergo labial reconstruction surgery. Some women may experience physical discomfort due to an enlarged or distorted labia. They may catch on clothing, feel uncomfortable when sitting down or doing exercise, make having sex or inserting tampons painful, or prevent a woman from wearing the clothes she may wish to, for example, swimwear or tight garments.
Some women may feel as though their genitalia does not look “normal”. The appearance of enlarged or distorted labia may also diminish confidence and reduce libido leading to avoiding sexual intercourse. This may also have an effect on a woman’s intimate relationships.
Childbirth and aging
Childbirth may also cause damage to the labia, resulting in tearing, stretching, gaps or scarring. This may leave a woman feeling self-conscious about its appearance, which could be having a detrimental effect on her relationships. Aging may also cause the labia to increase in size or lose tone. Labial reconstruction can help restore the normal appearance of the labia, but this is not always guaranteed.
There are several risks associated with undergoing labiaplasty, which include:
- Permanent scarring
- Nerve damage, resulting in sensitivity changes
Vaginal and Labial Cysts
Cysts are commonly seen in the vagina and on the labia. Usually these resolve without further treatment, but occasionally they can become infected and develop into painful abscesses. If this should occur then drainage of the cysts may be required.