Whether a result of genetics, childbirth, or something else entirely, enlarged labia can be an uncomfortable and downright painful problem. Some women also find the issue somewhat embarrassing. In many cases, a trim labiaplasty procedure can simply trim away the edges of the inner labia to fix the problem. A wedge labiaplasty is a bit more complicated but alleviates an uneven transition where the two trimmed labia meet, which is common with a trim labiaplasty. We’re happy to share with you what you need to know if you’re considering a wedge labiaplasty.
What is a Wedge Labiaplasty Technique?
During wedge labiaplasty, the surgeon removes a triangular or V-shaped section of tissue from each labia minora. This allows the doctor to make both labia the same size while making each smaller so that it tucks neatly inside the labia majora. This technique leaves behind a more natural look, maintaining the normal crinkled-looking edge of the labia. Some women prefer this more natural look. Others prefer a trim labiaplasty as it leaves behind a more youthful looking pink labial edge rather than a darker skin color, which is quite common but not always desired.
One of the benefits of the wedge labiaplasty is that it results in a much shorter scar than a trim labiaplasty. The stitches in a wedge labiaplasty are also hidden, ultimately tucking within the fold of the labia. Unfortunately, the wedge labiaplasty only treats tissue thickness and irregularities in the middle portion of the labia. This prevents any unevenness where the labia meet each other at the clitoral hood, but it may not be a good option for women who need excess tissue removed all along the labia.
The Wedge Technique: Step by Step
When going to the surgery center or hospital for a wedge labiaplasty, you will need to change into a surgical gown. The doctors and nurses will take your vitals, verify your lab work a final time, and have you sign any necessary consent forms. They will also likely shave your pubic area. Your surgeon should pop in while you are still awake and make sure you don’t have any last-minute questions or concerns. After that, you will be sedated.
Once you’re under anesthesia, your surgeon will take the following steps:
- They will examine you one last time to verify that the technique they have chosen is the correct one for your anatomy and desired outcome.
- Your surgeon will then begin the surgery by spreading one of your labia open and then cutting a wedge shape incision. This incision will be shaped like a triangle, with the bottom edge facing your leg or thigh and the point of the triangle pointing in toward your vagina.
- After removing the triangle wedge, the surgeon will bring together the top and bottom of the labia minora to close the incision. He will sew the two edges together with dissolving stitches.
- The process will be repeated on the other side, removing enough tissue to resolve any labial discomfort you’ve been experiencing while making sure that the second labia is the same size as the other.
- The anesthesiologist will wake you up and send you to the post-anesthesia care unit to recover. You may receive some intravenous pain medication before your doctor wakes you.
Will My Labiaplasty Surgery Involve Stitches?
You will have stitches after a wedge labiaplasty, but this is generally not cause for concern. The stitches will sit inside your labia majora where they will be fairly protected. Your surgeon will also use dissolvable stitches, so you need not worry about having your stitches removed later. They will simply go away on their own as you heal.
What is Wedge Labiaplasty Recovery Like?
Given that a wedge labiaplasty gets performed on some of your more delicate and sensitive body parts, many women express concerns that recovery will be painful. Happily, this is not the case. Your doctor will prescribe you pain medications to keep you comfortable after surgery, but most women report easily controlling any discomfort with over-the-counter pain relievers. Placing a cold compress on the area for 20 minutes at a time can also help keep you comfortable.
You will need to wear loose clothing for a few days after the procedure so as not to irritate the area and your surgeon may give you an oral antibiotic to help prevent infection while you’re healing. You may wish to wear a maxi pad for about a week after surgery to absorb any bleeding, but this should be minor and not generally bothersome. You’ll need to wash your surgical site with soap and warm water periodically, and your doctor may ask you to do so after using the toilet. Pat the area dry after washing rather than rubbing.
Most patients can return to sedentary jobs within a week of surgery. Strenuous exercise and sexual intimacy, however, will need to wait for 4 to 6 weeks.