Labiaplasty, AKA labia minora reduction and labial reduction, is a plastic surgery that decreases the size, or restructures the labia minora, also known as the inner flaps of skin on either side of the vagina. This procedure is also known as labia reduction since it involves reducing the labia minora so it doesn’t suspend below the hair-bearing labia majora which is the outer flaps of skin on either side of the vagina. Labiaplasty is a common vaginal rejuvenation procedure performed for aesthetic and/or functional purposes. A woman with an enlarged or hanging labia may suffer from irritation when performing daily tasks or when exercising or wearing tight-fitting clothing. Excessive labia can also cause itching or hygienic problems and discomfort during intercourse. Labiaplasty can improve the appearance of the vagina while relieving discomfort.
A GOOD CANDIDATE for labiaplasty may include:
The following patients are NOT GOOD CANDIDATES for labiaplasty:
Labiaplasty is an outpatient procedure normally performed under general anesthesia. Local anesthesia may also be an option depending on the patient’s preferences and the doctor’s recommendations. The surgery takes about two hours depending on whether other vaginal rejuvenation procedures are performed at the same time. A clitoral hood reduction can be performed in conjunction with labiaplasty. This procedure involves reducing the size of the clitoris by removing a small amount of its tissue.
There are two common techniques for labiaplasty:
The cost of labiaplasty depends on the extent of the procedure, type of anesthesia used, the skills of the surgeon and the geographic location of the facility. In general, the cost is anywhere from $2500-$6000. A patient’s health insurance will not cover the cost of a cosmetic labiaplasty. However, it may cover a portion of the cost if the procedure is done for functional purposes.
After labiaplasty surgery, a woman can expect to have tender and swollen genitals for the first several weeks of the RECOVERY period. There may be some bruising on the labium as well as the surrounding areas. Pain medications may be prescribed to ease discomfort as well as an oral antibiotic to help prevent an infection. To minimize swelling, patients should rest with their buttocks elevated and apply ice packs between the legs. Blood-tinged drainage or bleeding is normal during the first week. Therefore, patients will need to wear a sanitary napkin since a tampon is not recommended for 4 to 6 weeks. Showering is permitted the day after surgery but patients should use mild soap and wash the vaginal area gently. It is common for a woman to feel some stinging when urinating. A small bottle, filled with water, can help to ease the sting when sprayed on the incisions during urination.
Throughout the first week of DOWNTIME, patients should avoid lifting children and heavy objects. Most women take a week off work for healing since walking can cause an uncomfortable friction and moderate to severe discomfort. Strenuous activities or exercise should be avoided for 3 weeks and intercourse should not be attempted for 4-6 weeks.
Labiaplasty results may not be apparent for the first couple weeks due to swelling. However, most of the swelling should subside by the 3rd week and the patient should notice that the labia minora is tighter and more youthful looking. By three months post-op, the patient should see close to the final results and a labium that is tucked within the labia majora. The final results may not be apparent until 6 months post-op since residual swelling can last up to 4 or 5 months. The results from labiaplasty are long lasting but can be altered with pregnancy or the natural results of aging.
Limitations of what can be accomplished with labiaplasty include:
The risks associated with labiaplasty include:
Labiaplasty is a way to alter the vagina for aesthetics or functional issues. While many women are self-conscious about the size or shape of their vagina, other women seek a resolution for the symptoms of enlarged labia minora. Any woman considering a vaginal rejuvenation procedure, such as labiaplasty, should consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon that performs both labiaplasty techniques. Patients should ask which technique may be a better option for their specific concerns and how many years of experience the doctor has performing each technique.
Written by Cosmetic Town Editorial Team
Based on exclusive interview provided by Dr. Randy Buckspan of Personique in Austin, TX.