What are the labiaplasty risks and labiaplasty complications?
Doctor Answers (21)
Risks really relate to technique
The most common and well-studied labiaplasty is the reduction of the Labia minora (the vaginal "lips"). This operation has several base methods and the results vary with those methods. The simple cut off the excess "trim" is associated with far more pain and downtime than the wedge methods. My practice of labiaplasty has gravitated toward a modified wedge as this has provided the reductions with greatly decreased pain.
The "trims" tend to experience more hypersensitivity at the cut edge. The "wedges" don't. The "trims" lose more sensation and the "wedges" really don't. I can think of few patients upon whom at this time in my practice I would offer a "trim." Infection is a risk. It is better to do the surgery when you are off your period if you can although this is only a theoretical risk.
Risks of labiaplasty
Infection - Infection is unusual after this type of surgery. Antibiotics or additional surgery may be necessary.
Change in skin sensation- Diminished (or loss of) skin sensation in the labia may not totally resolve after labiaplasty.
Skin contour irregularities- This may cause alteration in the appearance of the edge of the labia. Visible and palpable wrinkling of skin can occur.
Pigment irregularities- Visible discoloration of the leading edge of the labia majora/minora can occur.
Scarring - Scars may be unattractive and of different color than surrounding skin. Additional treatments including surgery may be necessary to treat abnormal scarring.
Surgical anesthesia- . There is the possibility of complications, injury, and even death from all forms of surgical anesthesia or sedation.
Asymmetry- Labia are normally uneven. Symmetry may not result from labiaplasty. Many other anatomical features may contribute to normal asymmetry in body features.
Delayed healing- Wound disruption or delayed wound healing is possible. This may require frequent dressing changes or further surgery to remove the non-healed tissue.
Smokers have a greater risk of skin loss and wound healing complications.
Allergic reactions- Allergic reactions may require additional treatment.
Swelling- Malposition, scarring, unacceptable appearance or loss of the labia may occur..
Long term effects- Subsequent alterations in body contour may occur as the result of aging, weight loss or gain, pregnancy, or other circumstances not related to labiaplasty.
Pain- Chronic pain may occur very infrequently from nerves becoming trapped in scar tissue after labiaplasty. Pain due to other associated conditions may not be relieved by labiaplasty.
Other- You may be disappointed with the results of surgery. Infrequently, it is necessary to perform additional surgery to improve your results.
ADDITIONAL SURGERY NECESSARY
Should complications occur, additional surgery or other treatments may be necessary. Even though risks and complications occur infrequently, the risks cited are particularly associated with labiaplasty. Other complications and risks can occur but are even more uncommon. The practice of medicine and surgery is not an exact science. Although good results are expected, there is no guarantee or warranty expressed or implied, on the results that may be obtained.
Most health insurance companies exclude coverage for cosmetic surgical operations such as labiaplasty or any complications that might occur from surgery. Please carefully review your health insurance subscriber-information pamphlet.
Additional costs may occur should complications develop from the surgery. Secondary surgery or hospital day-surgery charges involved with revisionary surgery would also be your responsibility.
A labioplalsty is an extremely safe procedure.
But as in any surgical procedure patients need to seek experts in the field. Minor complications following this procedure include the possibility of bleeding, infection and slight asymmetry. To avoid complications and fast recovery it is very important for patients to follow the postoperative instructions.
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Labiaplasty is an extremely safe and effective procedure when performed properly with experience and care. Healing in this region is very favorable due to its vascularity and scars are very well hidden.
Any surgery poses a small risk of infection, bleeding and wound healing issues. Patients who smoke, have immune suppressive disorders, and who consume blood thinners are generally more at risk for these problems.
Overall risks for labiaplasty are very low when performed meticulously by an experienced surgeon and there continues to be a very high patient satisfaction with the procedure.
Dr. Pedy Ganchi
Labiaplasty is safe
Because the practice of medicine, cosmetic or otherwise, is based on clinical evidence, the lack of data from prospective, randomized, controlled trials is a serious mark against labiaplasty in the eyes of many doctors. However, from my clinical experience and own (as of yet unpublished) outcome study, the results of the procedure outweigh the potential risks. In my study, conducted from 2006 to 2007, I surveyed 77 patients about their labiaplasty experience and found that about 95% of them were overwhelmingly satisfied with the results.
My results compliment many other published outcome studies. One of these studies was conducted in a Chilean clinic and surveyed 55 labiaplasty patients. Two months following surgery, 91% of the patients said they were “very satisfied” with the results and none said they were dissatisfied.4 Another study of 163 patients in France found that 89% were satisfied with the aesthetic results of the procedure and 93% were happy with the functional outcomes.
Although more studies of this sort need to be completed, I am convinced that excellent outcomes are possible with labiaplasty when you have an experienced plastic surgeon using good surgical techniques in a safe manner.
As with any surgical procedures, there are several risks that one must be willing to undertake. Although small, there is a potential risk for bleeding or infection. It is important to avoid aspirin and other anti inflammatories for 10 days prior to surgery. Perioperative antibiotics and good hygiene will diminish one's risk for infection. Pain or discomfort is present, although not significant with a wedge technique. Wound separation is possible. Avoid intercourse for 6-8 weeks post operatively.
Labiaplasty Risks and Complications
Labiaplasty patients are given antibiotics before the surgery begins, but even with this precaution in place, the incisions can become infected during recovery. This problem is rarely severe and can usually be treated through a course of oral antibiotics. Serious infections may require patients to receive intravenous antibiotics and, in some cases, undergo additional surgery.
Bleeding is uncommon, but may occur. Patients who prematurely resume engaging in strenuous activities or sexual activity are at greater risk of bleeding. If severe bleeding occurs, it should be addressed immediately with medical treatment.
Labiaplasty scarring, while typically invisible, varies in severity from patient to patient. Problematic scars (like overly wide or raised tissue) may require surgery to correct.
Problems that occur during the healing process can result in pain. Complications, such as a nerve being caught in scar tissue, can cause extreme discomfort and may require surgical attention.
Loss of Sensation
I am extremely careful when performing a labial reduction, but it is possible for sensory nerves of the genital area to be disrupted. Though extremely rare, if this issue occurs it may need to be treated through further surgery.
The risks of labiaplasty procedures include but are not limited to nerve injury, wound healing problems, asymmetry, dysparenuria, and the need for additional procedures.
General risks that apply to all surgeries would also apply to Libiaplasty surgery such as : separation of the wound edges, infection, excessive bleeding or bruising, etc. The specific more common complications would include asymmetry, discomfort or pain with sex and possible change in urine stream. Most of my patients are extremely happy with their results.
Because of their rich blood supply the labia are somewhat of a privileged site for healing. There is a slightly increased chance of infection due to proximity to bacteria from the vagina and anus, but with good hygiene and prophylactic antibiotics this is rare.
Full recovery is expected at 6 weeks with early resumption of sexual activity or intense exercise occasionally occasionally leading to wound openings. Changes to sensation along incision lines can occur postoperatively leading to hypo or hypersensitivity. These changes to sensation typically resolve but rarely can persist.
Swelling and pain largely diminishes within the first few weeks. Aesthetic result are largely immediately apparent within this time, however small amounts of residual swelling can take up to 3 months to resolve.
Dr Quinton Chivers
These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.