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Over time, women experience a myriad of changes to their bodies because of several factors, including the natural aging process, hormone fluctuations and environmental effects. Changes to your outward appearance are often the most noticeable, so it’s easy to overlook the influence aging has on other more intimate parts of your anatomy.

With age comes changes in the tone and elasticity of your skin – all of it. The supply of collagen and elastin responsible for keeping skin supple and youthful starts to decrease, and the amount of drooping and sagging increases. Available options for smoothing wrinkles or restoring volume to your face are a huge part of the cosmetic industry, but what many women may forget is that if the visible areas of your body are beginning to show your age, so are the less visible areas, including your genitals.

For most women, talking about laxity in the skin of their labial and vaginal areas, as well as weakness in the muscles of the vagina, is something that is embarrassing or uncomfortable to talk about. However, rest assured that you’re not the only woman who struggles with these issues. In 2017, nearly 11,000 women chose to undergo a labiaplasty procedure – a nearly 200 percent increase over the past five years.

At Urogynecology Center NoVa, Dr. Maria Canter understands that female sexual health can be a sensitive topic, and she feels privileged to be able to care for women, not only keeping them healthy, but renewing their confidence and restoring their quality of life. She can address your concerns about the aesthetic appearance of your vagina, as well as any issues with reduced function or pain or discomfort you may be experiencing.

What Is a Labiaplasty?

At Urogynecology Center NoVa, we offer both surgical and nonsurgical procedures to improve the look and comfort of the labia. The surgical treatment that Dr. Canter offers is known as a labiaplasty, which is a procedure designed to reduce the length of your labia minora.

The size and shape of the labia varies from woman to woman, and while it is incredibly elastic, two main factors contribute to the labia lengthening or starting to sag – age and childbirth. Multiple births fatigue the vaginal muscles, meaning that each time childbirth stretches the labia, the more difficult it is for it to snap back into its original shape. Diminishing amounts of collagen and elastin as you age also has an effect, as the skin has lost significant elasticity. Whatever the cause, women often experience physical discomfort from a stretched labia, or are embarrassed about the appearance of their vagina, resulting in decreased intimacy with their partner.

The purpose of labiaplasty is to surgically shorten your labia, providing relief from pain and discomfort, as well as restoring the cosmetic appearance of your vagina.

Types of Labiaplasty Procedures

Depending on your individual case and the results you are seeking, there are several techniques used to perform labiaplasty. The two most often used include:

  • Edge Resection – Also called the trim method, this technique is the one typically used to reduce the length of the labia. Dr. Canter will trim the excess skin along the length of your labia, stitching the area closed with small sutures. It is a relatively simple outpatient procedure that is safe and offers minimal risk for complications. Most importantly, it provides excellent results.
  • Wedge Method – This procedure is designed to reduce excess bulk from the labia minora. The primary goal of this method is to correct issues with the inner labia by removing a wedge-shaped section of the labia minora. This is also performed as an outpatient surgery.

Whatever technique you choose, a labiaplasty procedure usually takes under two hours, and is performed using general anesthesia or local anesthesia with IV sedation.

Recovery and Healing After Your Labiaplasty Surgery

Recovery following labiaplasty surgery is not extensive, but there are still a few restrictions. Dr. Canter recommends that you take a few days off of from work, as there is often discomfort and swelling during the first week. These are temporary, and can be treated with ice and over-the-counter pain medications. It may take six weeks or more for all of the swelling to recede, but most women are able to resume sexual intercourse and return to exercising within four to six weeks after their surgery.

Possible Risks or Complications

As with any surgical procedure, labiaplasty does have some risks, but they are minimal. Most side effects after surgery are temporary, and may include bruising, swelling or light bleeding. However, because every woman is different, other complications may include:

  • Asymmetrical results
  • Over-resection
  • Infection
  • Scarring
  • Loss of sensation
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Vaginal dryness

Keep in mind that these side effects are rare, and at Urogynecology Center NoVa, you are in expert hands. Dr. Maria Canter is board-certified in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery as well as Obstetrics & Gynecology, and is one of the first surgeons in the country to be board-certified in both specialties. Her education, experience and passion for caring for women ensures that your procedure will be safe and effective, providing you with the best possible results. If changes to your labia are causing you to experience embarrassment, discomfort or pain, it might be time to learn more about what labiaplasty can do.

Call Urogynecology Center NoVa today to schedule a consultation.703-293-5239