What is Labiaplasty Recovery Like?

Over 90% of all the labiaplasty surgeries are done in our offices without having to place an I.V., spinal, epidural, or general anesthetic.  Immediate Post-Op recovery after a labiaplasty is very minimal with an average length of stay of less than 15 minutes in our recovery area.  The local anesthetic works for an average of two more hours after surgery is complete and all patients walk out the door quite comfortable with absolutely no pain.  Once the local anesthetic wears off I encourage my patients to use an ice pack in the vulvar area to reduce swelling and to give comfort.  A feminine pad also helps in absorbing some of the blood and discharge produced by the surgery.  I also encourage the use of Dermoplast spray as a topical anesthetic.  Many women who have had vaginal births know of this over-the-counter medication to provide relief from discomfort, pain, and rubbing.  Of course all patients are advised to take the oral pain medications prescribed.  Typically, we will write prescriptions for either Vicodin, Darvocet, or Tylenol with Codeine and combine it with a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication such as Ibuprofen/Motrin, Naproxen/Alleve, or Toradol.  The combination of narcotic and non-steroidal agent together gives significant relief.  During this first few days, go ahead and pamper yourself and don’t do too much.  Be aware that you may have pain, discomfort, and irritations from the rubbing of the surgical edges with your clothing so be sure to wear loose items such as boxer shorts, dresses, or sweat bottoms.  This is not unusual in the early phase of healing and will resolve with time.  No thongs or bikini bottoms, no tight jeans for you for a while.  Keep yourself clean by using soap and water and by doing sitz baths daily, even twice a day if you wish. A hand sprayer is helpful to keep discharge and debris from accumulating in your vaginal region.  If you had a laser procedure, clean off the whitish discharge often and don’t let it accumulate. 

For the first week, you should relax and take it easy.  Limit your activities to light work or deskwork. This is a great time to catch up on your reading, television programs or other similar activities that you rarely have time for.  You can walk up and down stairs, drive, cook, go to movies but avoid activities such as vacuuming, heavy gardening, carrying heavy objects, lifting your children, swimming.  You may drive once you feel comfortable and able.  Don’t be a martyr and avoid your pain meds.  Take them when you need them.  You will not get hooked on them if taken following my instructions.  Those with sit-down jobs can return to work in a few days to a few weeks depending on pain tolerance.

Do not use a tampon or put anything into the vagina except the estrogen cream.  Avoid vaginal sexual activity for the first 6 to 8 weeks.  You can start vaginal stretching exercises at 6 to 8 weeks post-op.  We will give you this specialized handout in the office.  Use your estrogen cream daily for a couple of months to aid in healing and regeneration of new skin.  This will also prevent erosions of mesh if you had a reconstructive pelvic surgery along with your labiaplasty.  Take your antibiotics as prescribed. 

Take a vitamin every day for 3 months following surgery to ensure you have excellent nutrition. Take a stool softener such as Colace to reduce the risk of straining during BMs.  Whether you use the softener or not, it is very important not to strain these repaired tissues.  If you had  vaginoplasty or a posterior repair  with the labiaplasty then be sure to use Colace twice a day, a tablespoon of Milk of Magnesia daily, FiberCon or Metamucil daily, drink prune juice and water liberally, eat prunes, and have some Dulcolax suppositories and even a Fleets Enema readily available.  The feeling of constipation is common when a vaginoplasty or posterior repair is done. 

Weeks 2 – 4 gradually increase your physical activities, but specifically you should still not lift heavy objects (one (1) gallon of liquid or more). Walking or strolling is acceptable – just no power walking, impact exercises, jogging or aerobics.  This is an important time because sutures usually start absorbing and turning into jello-like discharge at day 10 on.  This means you may pass blue and white sutures, have a sticky to watery discharge, and even experience more spotting as the sutures absorb and break.  Some wound edges may even open up and separate.   Do not fret because your labiaplasty has been repaired in multiple layers and the chance of your wound totally opening up is quite rare.  If there is some wound separation of the edges it will usually heal from the bottom up and you will not see any evidence of a wound separation in a few months.  Same goes for vaginoplasty patients. 

Weeks 5 – 8 gradually resume normal activities. If you are still sore or certain activities are still uncomfortable, wait an additional week or two before resuming.  If you had laser resurfacing it may take weeks to months for normal coloration to come back.  If you are bleeding more than expected, have an odorous discharge, have a fever, have increased swelling of your labia or vulva, or have any other concerns, please contact the office immediately.  As mentioned earlier, if you had a vaginoplasty, at about week 6 is when you can start the vaginal softening exercises described by a handout from our office.  Come in to see me at about week 8 for your final After photographs and to make sure all is well.  We  usually take photos of labiaplasty surgeries and rarely take those of vaginoplasty.

If you live outside the area please contact us via email or phone at any time.  Feel free to use photographs on our secure website to show us any areas of concern.  We will respond rapidly.