Labiaplasty is a cosmetic surgery that removes excess labia tissue. The surgery aims to reduce the overall size of the labia minora (inner vaginal lips) so that they are flush with the labia majora (outer lips). Labiaplasty can also correct asymmetry of the labia.
When going through labiaplasty recovery, many women have questions about what to expect when it comes to swelling. Below, we’ll go over how long labiaplasty swelling should last, what you can expect in regards to swelling, and five steps for reducing post-labiaplasty swelling as soon as possible.
First, however, let’s briefly go over all labiaplasty recovery symptoms in general.
Common Symptoms After Labiaplasty
After labiaplasty, here are some common symptoms you may experience:
- Discharge or drainage
- Difficulty walking (first few days)
The overall healing process usually takes several weeks. However, everyone will experience a different swelling timeline. For some, it may take up to six months to reduce swelling entirely.
What Is Normal Swelling after Labiaplasty?
In general, when part of the body experiences any type of wound (such as an incision made during surgery), swelling is always part of the healing process. Labiaplasty swelling is absolutely essential during recovery so that your body heals properly and so that you receive the results you desire.
Swelling occurs during the inflammatory phase (the first phase of recovery). This is when thousands of your body’s cells flood the region that was injured (where you had surgery). Fluid carries these cells in addition to other enzymes and growth factors for healing.
This fluid and the inflammatory cells will have the job of repairing the surgical site. Unfortunately, they will also cause the affected region to grow in size, and this will cause pain and discomfort.
A moderate amount of swelling is normal. If swelling is not going away, is accompanied by acute redness and tightness, or is associated with other alarming symptoms, call your surgeon immediately.
How long will initial swelling last after labiaplasty?
Initial swelling increases over the first few days or weeks of recovery. From there, you should see a steady decline in swelling.
However, this decline will take far longer than a few days or weeks. Sometimes, it may take up to three to six months for all swelling to be gone.
You should not experience swelling that lasts beyond around six months or slightly more. If you think you may have excessive swelling or if the swelling is lingering and not dissipating, contact your surgeon.
How to Reduce Labiaplasty Swelling
Follow these steps to help reduce labiaplasty swelling more quickly.
1. Get plenty of rest early on.
Rest is critical when recovering from invasive surgery. Not only should you be getting adequate sleep at night, but you should also be resting during the day and avoiding strenuous exercise and other physical activities until you are cleared by your surgeon.
2. Use your cold compress as your best friend.
Cold compresses can help improve comfort and reduce labiaplasty swelling. It’s best to use a cold compress for the first few days after surgery, as long as your surgeon recommends it.
To use a cold compress, crushed ice in a plastic bag is one simple at-home option. Just be sure to sandwich it between two garments so that the compress does not come in direct contact with your skin.
3. Avoid using creams or topical ointments.
Creams should rarely be used around the labia to begin with. Furthermore, outside creams and ointments of any kind can damage the skin surrounding your incision sites after surgery. These products may even lead to infection and will almost certainly delay healing.
4. Take your pain medication consistently.
While some patients won’t need pain pills for very long, it’s important to take your pain medications consistently if you do opt to use them. Staying on top of pain management will improve your wellbeing and outlook on recovery.
After surgery, your surgeon will most likely prescribe pain medication and anti-inflammatory meds, which can help improve your comfort and reduce labiaplasty swelling.
5. Skip baths.
Taking a bath, swimming, and even showering without being careful not to wet your surgical site can all affect the healing process. It’s important to avoid these water activities because bacteria from water can enter your healing incision sites and cause problems.
After a few weeks, your surgeon should clear you to take baths and swim, etc.
FAQ: Labiaplasty Swelling and Recovery
How can I speed up my labiaplasty recovery?
There is no way to really speed up your labiaplasty recovery. Still, there are ways to ensure an efficient recovery: get plenty of rest, avoid strenuous activity, drink plenty of fluids, and keep your incisions clean. Swelling reduces on its own with a healthy lifestyle, rest, and time.
How do you know if you have an infection in your labia minora after labiaplasty?
For most patients, signs of post-surgical problems such as infection include excessive bleeding or incision discharge, chills and fever, and chronic redness and swelling that won’t go away.
What kind of pain control do you get after labiaplasty?
Pain medication can be prescribed to mitigate discomfort post-surgery. Antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications may also be prescribed. Icing the affected area can help improve pain and reduce swelling as well.
When can you walk normally after labiaplasty?
It will usually take at least two to three days to return to walking after labiaplasty. Soreness may persist after this point, but you should be able to return to most of your usual activities in about two to four weeks.
What can you not do after labiaplasty?
Avoid lifting anything over five lbs. after labiaplasty. You should also avoid any strenuous exercise or other activities that cause heavy breathing and sweating.
How painful is labiaplasty recovery?
Recovery from labiaplasty will involve some soreness, especially immediately after the procedure. Pain and discomfort should resolve in the first one to two weeks after surgery. You may take pain medication to improve your comfort.
How long until you are fully healed from labiaplasty surgical procedure?
Every woman will experience a different recovery timeline after labiaplasty. Swelling will continue for several weeks and months, so complete results may not be apparent for up to six months.
What plastic surgeons perform labiaplasty near me?
Female board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Ashley Steinberg performs labiaplasty in the Houston, TX area. Book a consultation to see if labiaplasty is right for you.
Schedule Your Consultation Today
Labiaplasty can be a highly effective surgical procedure for many women. If you would like to learn more about this procedure, please contact us today and schedule a consultation appointment with Dr. Ashley Steinberg.