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Post-Operative Instructions for Labiaplasty
NIGHT OF SURGERY
- Movement is Important: Make sure to get out of bed and be up and walking around immediately after your surgery. When lying down in bed or on the couch, make sure you are moving your legs and ankles. Take deep breaths frequently to keep your lungs clear.
- Sleep: Sleeping on your back will be the most comfortable during the recovery process. You can place a pillow between your legs if this adds comfort.
- Ice/Cold Compress: Ice the area for the first few days to a week, 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off. This will help reduce swelling and discomfort.
- Pain: You will be prescribed a pain medication for post-operative pain control. If your discomfort after surgery is not strong you are welcomed to take Tylenol in place of the prescribed medication. Do not take Tylenol with the pain medication, often the medication you are prescribed will have Tylenol in it. Do not exceed 4,000 mg of Tylenol in any 24-hour period. Take medication with food to minimize risk of nausea.
- Nausea: A common side effect after general anesthesia and strong medications. If you are experiencing nausea, we advise that you take your nausea medication.
- Constipation: You will experience constipation if taking narcotic pain relievers. MiraLAX or other over the counter laxatives are recommended. Do not wait to take until you are constipated.
- Medications to Avoid: Take only those medications approved or prescribed by your surgeon.
- Diet: A light low-fat diet is best after surgery. You may start a regular diet the day after your surgery if you are not feeling nauseated or vomiting. Start with liquids for the first few hours after surgery and then slowly advance to more solid foods.
- Hydration: Stay hydrated by drinking 8 -10 glasses of water a day. Avoid alcohol for 48 hours and while you are still taking pain medications.
- Physical Activity: Take it easy for the first week after surgery and avoid prolonged periods of sitting in an upright position.
- Exercise: Normal daily activity may be resumed a few days after surgery. Light exercise may be resumed 2-3 weeks after surgery (this also includes straddling activities such as cycling, horseback riding, etc.). Remember to start easy and build back up to your previous exercise levels. Just know that swelling may transiently be worse with exercise.
- Menstrual Cycle: No tampons should be used for 6 weeks. Wear a pad if menstrual cycle begins.
- Driving: Do NOT operate a vehicle or make important decisions until you have been off pain medications for 24 hours. Use good judgment. Avoid sitting for long driving trips for about two weeks.
- Return to work: Most patients require approximately 5-7 days off work depending on their job responsibilities. Returning to work with a light schedule initially or even parttime can be beneficial as well.
- Sexual Intercourse: No vaginal intercourse for 6 weeks or until cleared by your surgeon. Sexual activity should only be resumed once you feel ready with no restrictions and incisions have adequately healed.
- Clothing: Wear loose, breathable clothing and undergarments to help with irritation. Friction from tight clothing will further irritate the area.
- Showering: You may shower with assistance the day following surgery.
HOW TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR INCISIONS
- Incision Dressing: Your dressing will consist of antibiotic ointment to the incision line and a panty liner in your underwear. Change the panty liner as needed.
- Ointment Application: Apply Bacitracin ointment to the incision line once a day. Over application may lead to sutures dissolving prematurely. If no major discomfort, you may forgo ointment application.
- Stitches: All stitches are dissolvable.
WHAT TO EXPECT
- Drainage: Drainage can occur from the incision sites for the first week following surgery. The drainage will be blood tinged. You may use a pad or liner if this occurs.
- Bruising: You can expect to have bruising. Most bruises will heal after about 2-3 weeks. The bruise will go from a purplish color to a yellow/green shade as it starts to resolve.
- Swelling: Swelling in all surrounding and affected areas is to be expected for weeks and sometimes months. This is an area which can have excessive swelling which is normal. The swelling can improve with intermittent rest and ice. Exercise and physical activity can transiently worsen swelling but is encouraged.
- Itching: Itching at the incision sites is normal for a few days. You may take Benadryl to help with this.
- Pain: It is normal to experience sensitivity, stinging during urination, discomfort, soreness, and fatigue for several days to weeks following surgery as your body recovers.
- Sensory Changes in Skin: You may feel reduced or heightened sensation in the vaginal area which is normal. You can expect return of normal sensation after a few weeks to months.
- Final Result: It may take about 3-6 months to see final results.
- DO NOT apply hydrogen peroxide to incision sites. Keep postop dressings in place until follow-up.
- DO NOT soak in baths, jacuzzies or hot tubs until all incisions have fully healed.
- DO NOT take Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Naproxen, or other blood thinners until your surgeon advises you it is safe.
- DO NOT apply heating pads or ice packs to the treated areas unless otherwise instructed by your surgeon.
WHEN TO CALL THE OFFICE (703-481-0002) OR GO TO THE HOSPITAL
- Signs of Infection: Spreading redness, worsening swelling, increased drainage or drainage of pus, worsening pain, warmth at incision site and temperature over 101 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Excessive Bleeding: If the dressings are saturated with bright red blood and you are having to make very frequent dressing changes.
- Other Emergency Situations: Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chest pain, lightheadedness that does not quickly resolve, severe vomiting, pain, or asymmetric swelling in your legs.