Ask Dr. Pane: What’s The Best Labiaplasty Technique?
Dr. Pane evaluates the pros and cons of popular labiaplasty techniques for a patient.
Atlantic Coast Aesthetics likes to stay on the cutting edge of modern cosmetic surgery. In recent years, labiaplasty has become very popular among women who are uncomfortable with the natural appearance of their vaginas. Labiaplasty can refer to either the outer folds or “lips” of the vagina, also called the labia majora, or the inner lips, known as the labia minora. These lips serve an important biological function by covering and protecting the vaginal entrance and the sensitive clitoral area from bacteria and other environmental hazards, as well as trauma. Every woman’s body is different, and this can cause dysphoria with her appearance and in extreme cases even interfere with her ability to enjoy sexual activity. In this week’s Ask Dr. Pane Segment, the patient asks which of the two major labiaplasty techniques would be best to correct her elongated labia minora.
Dr. Pane evaluated pictures the patient provided to illustrate her area of concern in an effort to establish whether the longitudinal excision or the “V-wedge” technique would best suit her needs. During the evaluation, he noticed a moderate amount of redundant labial tissue in the photographs.
Dr. Pane’s Answer
As with so many things in cosmetic surgery, the short, honest answer is “It depends.” Both techniques have distinct benefits and drawbacks depending upon the actual structure in question and the desired outcome. If the redundancy in the labia minora were more centrally located, up near the clitoris, for example, the V-wedge might be an ideal technique. This technique minimizes scarring of the area and is designed to remove excess tissue while reducing the probability of healing issues which may come up with other types of labiaplasty. However, if the excess tissue runs the full length of the vaginal cleft and protrudes outward between the labia majora, a longitudinal excision may give better results. In this procedure, the labia minora are trimmed down to the approximate level of the labia majora so that they are not as visible until the labia majora are parted.
One thing Dr. Pane stresses is the importance of determining a surgeon’s skill set and its accompanying limits. Some plastic surgeons do not perform both types of procedures, or may express a distinct preference for one over the other, regardless of the patient’s desired outcome. This should always be viewed with a certain degree of skepticism, and the patient should always make it her business to advocate for the type of procedure she believes is right for her body and needs. If the surgeon cannot provide a satisfactory answer as to why they prefer one procedure over the other, the patient should seek out a second opinion.
Dr. Pane performs both types of technique, with an additional option if needed: that of addressing excess tissue around the upper clitoral hood. This is an important distinction because oftentimes when excess labial tissue is present, the clitoral hood may also demonstrate redundant tissue which can interfere with sexual pleasure and activity.
There is no exact “right or wrong” way to perform labiaplasty, Dr. Pane says. Because of the uniqueness of each person and their ideal outcomes, the goal instead is to try to match the patient’s needs to the technique which is most likely to achieve the results the patient wants while also reducing the risk of postoperative complications, scarring and infection as much as possible. However, Dr. Pane notes that under his care, such complications are exceedingly rare.
Naturally, as with any other surgical procedure, performing aftercare and monitoring by the surgical staff in accordance with instructions is imperative to ensuring the best possible outcome. Depending upon the type of procedure, certain activities may be limited, restricted or prohibited until cleared by surgical personnel and some environmental or behavioral activities may increase or reduce the likelihood of complications. If you have any questions or concerns about the possible impact of cosmetic surgery on daily activities, it is always better to ask for clarification than risk a complication which could be easily avoided.
The staff of ACA is always pleased to answer your questions about cosmetic surgery. All you need to do is contact us at (561) 422-4116, reach out to us at http://acplasticsurg.com or follow us on Twitter and Facebook! Your question could even be the focus of an upcoming Ask Dr. Pane Segment, allowing us to focus directly on your question and explain in more detail than social media may permit the ins and outs of the procedure. Remember, at ACA, we believe the only bad question is the one you don’t ask!