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How Much Pain is Generally Associated with a Wedge Labiaplasty?

What prescribed pain meds do most patients use? Would the pain compare to an episiotomy?

Doctor Answers (11)

Wedge Labiaplasty

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I perform a lot of wedge labiaplasties and the majority of my patients report minimal discomfort after surgery. They usually take a strong oral pain medication for a day or so (like Vicodin), and then switch to Tylenol for a few more days. 

And they are very pleased with their results!

I hope that helps and wish you all the best!

Dr Knoetgen


Fresno Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Pain after wedge labiaplasty

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As the inventor of the central wedge labiaplsaty, I must say that the discomfort level is usually very mild.   Maybe 5-10% of the women have significant pain but most are able to return to work and usual activities in a couple days.   I personally think that there is less pain with the wedge technique than the linear or trim technique because the suture line is not in direct contact with clothes and bandages.  The amount of pain is also related to the surgical technique and the skills of the surgeon.

Gary J. Alter, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Not Much Pain from Labiaplasty

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We give our patients narcotics for pain relief following labiaplasty. We also use ice. We have a special way of using the ice that makes it both easy for the patient as well as more efficient. One of our patients actually helped us develop this. 

William H. Huffaker, MD
Saint Louis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Pain after labiaplasty--not as bad as you think!

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I usually prescribe Vicodin for a few days after labiaplasty, and many patients have gotten by just fine on only Extra-strength Tylenol and ice bags. Honest. Of course, pain is one of those extremely subjective things that affects each of us differently, and may well be influenced heavily by our preconceptions. In other words, if you think it's gonna hurt a lot, it probably will, and then you will need more and stronger pain medications.

But like many areas of plastic surgery (rhinoplasty and breast lift and reduction, for example), patients are quite pleasantly surprised that the pain they anticipated (and worried about) after labiaplasty is not nearly as bad as they thought (or heard from their so-called "friends").

Not being a gynecologist, I'd say that it's difficult to compare labiaplasty to episiotomy, but labiaplasty involves cutting only skin, whereas episiotomy cuts deeper tissues and muscles, so I suspect that would be worse. But that's just an anatomy-based guess!

My best advice? Follow your surgeon's advice and don't overdo "cleansing" or "washing" your dissovable sutures. Take it easy post-op. And no intimate activities until well-healed, even if it doesn't hurt! Best wishes! Dr. Tholen

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 145 reviews

Labiaplasties Don't Hurt All That Much

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After having performed over 100 labiaplasties, it has been my experience that patients don't complain about pain very often.  I use only the wedge technique and I leave a Foley catheter in the first night.  I give all my patients Percoset for the first three days, and thereafter extra strength Tylenol.  I recommend sitting in a bathtub for five minutes with one tablespoon full of Clorox in the bath water.  This very dilute antiseptic in 12" of bath water keeps the area clean until the dissolvable sutures fall out (which is usually about 7-9 days).  
Truly, pain from labiaplasty has not been a very big problem in my practice.       

S. Larry Schlesinger, MD, FACS
Honolulu Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 232 reviews

Pain after labiaplasty

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There is some discomfort with labiaplasty, whether it is a wedge technique or an anterior resection.  The labial tissues are very compliant, and hence is prone to swelling.  This can render the tissues very hypersensitive until the swelling goes down.  This also causes some alarm in patients who look and wonder whether that will be the final result.  Discomfort requiring narcotic usage (prescription) may be last days to upwards of a week, and on occasion more.  More often, you may find that certain positions, clothing, or activities will cause more friction on the surgical site and enhances the discomfort/hypersensitivity sensation.  This will go down with each week that passes by. By six weeks, most of is completely resolved.  Things that may delay this could be an infection, where the inflammation may linger and hence the discomfort/hypersensitivity can also linger.

Hope this helps.

Young R. Cho, MD, PhD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Pain after labiaplasty

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Most patients find that the  pain from this surgery was much less than they expected or worried about.  Dermaplast spray is helpful and also not wearing tight panties for several weeks post op are beneficial to lessening any chafing or irritation.

Leonard T. Yu, MD
Maui Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Labia Reduction Recovery

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Thank you for the question.

Every patient's experience after surgery is different but in general the pain associated with labia minora reduction surgery is relatively minor  In comparison to most other procedures I do.  I try to use a lot of long acting  local anesthesia during and after the procedure to help with  the immediate  recovery discomfort.  Bed rest and ice are helpful in minimizing swelling and the resultant discomfort.

Otherwise the postoperative routine.... I ask that a responsible adult transport the patient home. Bed rest is requested for 2 days with ice on the area during that time. Patients may resume light activity and “desk job” after 3 days but should avoid strenuous activity / sports for at least 3 weeks. Sexual intercourse may be resumed carefully after 4 weeks. I ask to see the patient for a post-operative visit 4-7 days after surgery and then again in a month (if possible).

I hope this helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 794 reviews

Pain after labiaplasty

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The labia, and the female perineum in general, are very sensitive due to a high density of sensory nerve endings and large "cortical representation" of perineal skin.  The discomfort, in general however, is not severe because you do not bear weight in this area, and it is not subject to trauma during most daily activities.  When very swollen and freshly sutured, there is friction during movement, and the labia are uncomfortable.  Although I'm not certain how most other physicians manage pain related to labiaplasty, I prescribe a first line combination of topical analgesic gel to apply directly upon the labii, and oral analgesics such as Vicodin (hydrocodone-acetaminophen) or Percocet (oxycodone-acetaminophen).  Warm baths help clean and add relief as well.

Steve Laverson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Pain following Labiaplasty

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Regardless of the labiaplasty technique, although I prefer sculpted linear excision for best symmetry and removal of an adequate amount of the darkly pigmented tissue, most patients are getting pretty comfortable after 4 - 5 days.  I would say the pain averages probably somewhere between a 4 - 6 out of 10 for the first 3 - 4 days but differs from patient to patient.  Before that time an oral narcotic such as Vicodin and ice can be used but a topical local anesthetic cream I give my patients seems to work best.  There are definitely much more painful surgeries in the world of plastic surgery and an episiotomy probably too falls into this category.  Best of luck...RAS

Ryan Stanton, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

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.