What is Labiaplasty?
Labiaplasty also referred to as labioplasty, or aesthetic vaginal surgery, is a surgical procedure that will reduce and/or reshape the labia minora – the skin that covers the female clitoris and vaginal opening. In some instances, women with large labia can experience pain during intercourse, or feel discomfort during everyday activities or when wearing tight-fitting clothing. Others may feel unattractive, or wish to enhance their sexual experiences by removing some of the skin that covers the clitoris. The purpose of a labiaplasty is to better define the inner labia. During this procedure the urethral opening can be redefined, and if necessary improvements to the vagina may be made. The problem can be caused by genetics, sexual intercourse or difficulties in childbirth. For more detailed information, read our Labiaplasty Questions and Answers.
Labia Minora (inner lips) Reduction – Many women dislike the large protuberant appearance of their labia minora. This may cause severe embarrassment with a sexual partner. The overly large labia minora can also result in constant irritation in tight pants. Surgical labial reduction can greatly improve the aesthetic appearance of the abnormally enlarged labis. Some women are born with large labia, others may develop this condition with childbirth or age.
Labia Majora (outer lips) Reduction – This common anatomical variation may be worsened by childbirth or by weight gain or loss. They may sometimes be improved by liposuction. In more severe cases, surgical reduction is necessary.
Who is a Good Candidate?
Women who are either experiencing sexual dysfunction, embarrassment, or pain because their labia (labia minora) are over-sized or asymmetrical. Also, women who dislike their large labia or shape of their labia, which may cause inelegance or awkwardness with a sexual partner. Read more about Who gets Labiaplasty, and Why?
Risks & Recovery
As with any surgical procedure there are certain risks. While few, the most common can include bleeding, infection, asymmetry, and scarring. Although these events are usually infrequent, they sometimes can occur. These will be discussed with you during the consultation for your procedure.
Labiaplasty is an outpatient procedure usually performed under local anesthesia. After surgery, women may experience some mild discomfort and swelling, which usually disappears completely after 1-2 weeks. Labial incisions usually heal and are rarely noticeable. Read more about Labiaplasty Recovery & Risks.
What to Expect
You’ve read about a labiaplasty surgeon’s credentials and you’ve documented that they have performed a large number of procedures and have the experience or formal training required—you are now ready to take the next steps. Read our guideline outlining the process. Keep in mind that these steps are not exactly the same for every surgeon, but typically they are the proper steps to proceed with your surgery. Labiaplasty Procedure Steps
Patient Considerations & Social Issues:
Patients should consider some important factors when deciding upon Labiaplasty or Vaginoplasty, as well as any feminine genital procedure. It’s always wise to ask the surgeon some basic questions including:
- How long have they been performing these surgeries?
- How many procedures have they done?
- How often do they perform the surgery?
- Where will the Labiaplasty or Vaginoplasty procedure be performed?
- Are my expectations achievable or realistic?
- If I’m not happy with the result, can it be fixed, and who pays for the revision?
As well, there is some controversy concerning the social acceptance and need for labia surgery, or rejuvenation of the vagina (Vaginoplasty). A very few social groups claim that the procedure is unnecessary and is solely driven by marketing by surgeons. While some claim this is the only reason, many of these groups have failed to identify emotional problems or medical issues within members of their own groups, leaving one to believe that perhaps these people simply don’t have these problems, hence they don’t understand what other women are experiencing everyday.
Other people have claimed, without medical evidence that procedures such as Labiaplasty and Vaginoplasty can interfere with childbirth at a later age, due to scar tissue. There is currently NO medical documentation to confirm these claims.