Labiaplasty and clitoral hood reduction. Any suggestions? (photos)

I am now four days post op. I'm aware extreme swelling and bruising is normal but Is it normal to have extremely swollen labia majora, in addition to my minora. I've seen other first week post op photos and it doesn't seem like anyone is as swollen as me!!! Kind of freaking out. Also I kind of have a weird odor excreting from a part of my labia. PS I've been doing sitz baths 2x a day and using estrace cream, as well as icing all day. Any other recommendations to help with swelling?!

Doctor Answers 11

Recovery after labiaplasty

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Its still early days after surgery so swelling, bruising and discomfort are normal.  Its too early to be concerned about your final result so be patient and don’t compare yourself to other.  Everyone heals at their own pace.  The warm sits baths are not typically recommended as it will likely increase your swelling and will soften your skin making it easier for the scars to tear.  Any bad odour warrants further investigation by your plastic surgeon. 

Time and elevation of the area

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are what you need most.  Don't freak out. Your swelling is well within what is considered normal.  Most do not use sitz baths for reasons Dr. Goodman mentioned but still, some doctors do and it must work for them.  Ice isn't really effective at this point but there is no harm in using it if it makes you feel better.  Go back to basics... time and elevation.  But if you're worried, you should have 24/7 access to your surgeon or whomever is covering so you can be seen and reassured in person.

Curtis Wong, MD
Redding Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Who gave you bad post-op care instructions?!?

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...Looks par for the course V-Y Wedge 4 days post-op, what Dr. Pelosi calls the "Frankenstein Phase..."Can get VERY swollen-- I've seen worse... Things will look far different in 3-4 days, if you don't split your sutures--Don't do sitz baths  this early as they can cause premature dissolution of sutures and the skin to become soft & sutures pull out. And rubbing Estrace cream -- no reason (!) and this also can tear sutures. WHO  told you to do these things which will increase the likelihood of your repair tearing..! Icing should be for 15-20 minutes only and not more than every 3-4 hours. More than that decreases your chance of healing well as it spasms blood vessels. Who gave you this poor post-op advice? Spend as much time as you can on the couch with butt & legs elevated-- that will help your swelling!!

Good Luck; the video and weblink may help guide you,

Michael P Goodman., MD

Davis, CA, USA

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Swelling is very common after labiaplasty. This swelling can distort the tissue quite extensively. You should never make a judgement about the final appearance of the labia within the first few weeks after a labiaplasty had been performed. Best to wait. After 6 weeks, it will look close to what you're going to end up with, but the best recommendation is to wait 3-6 months before you make a final assessment. At that time, if you are unhappy with the appearance or there is some asymmetry, you should then discuss this with your surgeon to see if further adjustments need to be made.  I personally prefer my method of doing labiaplasty procedures using a modified posterior wedge technique. It can give you very good symmetry of the labia, it looks the best aesthetically, and postoperatively they experience less pain in my experience. In addition, many patients have more satisfying sex since the sensitive thin delicate labial edges are left intact. You can learn more on the link below. Good luck. 

You are severely swollen after your labiaplasty and it's partially due to your sitz baths

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Swelling is common after any surgery, but more common in areas that are more elastic such as the labia. Hopping into a warm tub delivers heat to the area and heat causes things to expand - blood vessels, scars, etc, and is a sure way to aggravate the situation. Even worse, soaking the operated skin makes it softer and increases the risk of your scars ripping apart. Stay out of the tub. As for the estrace cream, it only makes sense to use it if you're in the menopause and lacking estrogen. Otherwise, it does nothing. Lay on the couch with a pillow under your butt.

Extreme Swelling

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Hi Nina, keep icing. Also ibuprofen will help and really limit your activity while you are healing. Once the swelling goes down, you will feel so much better. About the weird odor, it's a good idea to go see your surgeon so he/she can check it out to make sure that nothing is brewing down there. Best of luck in your journey!
Dr. Jennifer Hayes, DO, FACOOG
Cosmetic Vaginal Surgeon

Holy swelling, Batman!

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Wow! That looks very painful. First of all, be sure to follow up with your surgeon today.

I advise against soaking your vulva in sitz baths and the use of any creams. You should stop that now. An ice pack for 15 minutes of every hour would provide relief and decrease swelling. NSAIDS will also help along with limiting your activity. Your labia majora don't concern me as much as your labia minora. As the swelling goes down so will your discomfort. Despite this tremendous swelling, barring any hematoma or infection, you will end up healing quite nicely.  Keep us posted.

Best of luck,

Oscar A. Aguirre, MD

Aguirre Specialty Care

The Center for Female Pelvic Medicine and Cosmetic Surgery®

Oscar A. Aguirre, MD
Denver Urogynecologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Labiaplasty and clitoral hood reduction. Any suggestions?

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Thank you for sharing your question and photographs.  I agree that your swelling is on the more severe side following a labiaplasty though it does appear to only be generalized and not indicative of a hematoma.  I would try pelvic elevation and cold compresses to help reduce the swelling and would avoid sitz baths to avoid wound healing issues.  I would also recommend antiinflammatory over-the-counter medications while supplementation with arnica Montana and bromelain may prove beneficial.  As far as the odor I would voice your concern to your surgeon, they may want to perform an in-person examination.  Hope this helps.

Nelson Castillo, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

See your surgeon

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Swelling is not "normal" in all cases. It varies substantially between surgeons and patients. See your surgeon to make sure he or she believes you are OK. Only perform the post-operative care your surgeon has proscribed. 

Best Regards,

John Di Saia MD

John P. Di Saia, MD
Orange Plastic Surgeon


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Its quite normal to have this amount of swelling post operatively.  Try to remain calm and relax.  The best thing you can do is take it easy and rest. This will promote faster healing and lessen the swelling.

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.