The recovery time for cosmetic vaginal surgery depends upon the particular procedure, the nature of a woman’s anatomy, how well she has healed from other prior surgeries and how compliant she is with following explicit post-operative instructions.
Prior to the surgery taking place, a woman needs to understand the nature of the surgery, how it is done, how long it will take and what the convalescent course will be like. She will need to know all the potential benefits and risks of the procedure and what the likelihood of the complications will be. She should also understand the costs of the surgery, including the cost of the surgical facility and anesthesia, and the availability of insurance coverage.
Recovery times can be varied. There are women who heal quickly and at the time of follow-up can be told they can resume all normal activities. Similarly, others require more time to heal and their post-operative course needs to be modified. Noncompliance with postoperative instructions is the usual cause for delayed healing and occasionally for a poor result. Intercourse prior to total healing can lead to a breakdown anywhere along the line of the reconstruction. Getting an infection is a rare event. Most women are compliant in taking their prophylactic antibiotics as prescribed.
The most common external procedure, labiaplasty, results in the resculpturing of the inner lips at the vaginal entrance. These lips, which can be enlarged, irregular or asymmetric, can vary from paper thin to several millimeters thick. The thicker the labia the greater the swelling and the longer it takes to heal.
The remaining base of the labia is wider than the outermost edge and will take a longer time to heal than thin tissue. In general, patients are advised to refrain from work or school for five to seven days.
Experience has shown that for the recovery of thicker tissue it may take up to 10 days for a 50 percent reduction in size and swelling. Most swelling is gone within three to four weeks and the final cosmetic result is realized at three months. Patients are advised not to go swimming, take baths, engage in sports that will generate friction (running, spinning, Stairmaster), or have intercourse for six weeks.
Vaginoplasty is a very different procedure and recovery process than labiaplasty. This is a far more extensive surgery that brings the separated pelvic floor muscles together tightly over the rectocele or vaginal hernia, tightens the vaginal skin and rebuilds the perineum.
The discomfort level is usually much higher than the external procedures and requires a different set of post-operative instructions. Seven to ten days of convalescence is recommended. Most patients finally feel significantly better after two weeks but realize it will take a full six weeks to heal.
The same recommendations for external surgery apply to vaginoplasty patients after two weeks.
If a woman is having a combined procedure such as labiaplasty- vaginoplasty is done the healing process is about the same. Usually, the discomfort from the labiaplasty is overshadowed by the vaginoplasty.
Smaller procedures such as prepuce and clitoral hood reduction and hymenoplasty heal quickly and require only a short one to four day recovery time but without exertional or sexual activity for several weeks.
In all cases, frequent follow up examinations are advised, approximately every two weeks, modified for those who live very far away from the office.