Expert Doctor

What is Labiaplasty?

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.

Am I a Good Candidate for Labiaplasty?

A GOOD CANDIDATE for labiaplasty may include:

  • Any patient who is self-conscious about the size of their labia minora due to genetics or age
  • Any adult women who desires to reduce the size and shape of their labia due to discomfort
  • A woman with an asymmetric labium
  • Any women who has given birth and is dissatisfied with the stretching of the vaginal skin

The following patients are NOT GOOD CANDIDATES for labiaplasty:

  • A patient with a vaginal infection
  • A woman with a malignancy or genital disease
  • Patients who feel they cannot avoid intercourse for 4 to 6 weeks

How is Labiaplasty Performed?

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:

  • Linear resection involves trimming along the outer edge of the entire labia minora in order to remove excess tissue and create a “tucked in” appearance. The incision will be closed with a dissolvable, under-the-skin, suture line.
  • V-wedge resection is when the surgeon removes a V-shaped, or pie shaped, section of the labia minora at the largest portion. The V-shape pattern will be made toward the vaginal opening and the edges of the incision are sutured together with dissolvable stitches. This leaves the outer edge of the labia with a natural look. The V-wedge technique offers a smaller degree of discomfort with wearing clothes (after surgery) and less scarring than the linear resection.

What is the Cost of 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.

Recovery and Downtime

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 Labiaplasty

Limitations of what can be accomplished with labiaplasty include:

  • The amount of skin which can be removed since over-resection can cause additional symptoms
  • Patients seeking increased sexual pleasure, rather than lessening discomfort during intercourse, are limited in having the procedure since it is not designed to increase pleasure
  • Patients who have an abnormality or infection may be limited from this procedure until it has been properly addressed

Risks of Labiaplasty

The risks associated with labiaplasty include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Hematoma
  • Poor wound healing
  • Pain
  • Temporary numbness
  • Asymmetry which may occur during healing
  • Under, or over, correction
  • Changes, or a decrease, in sensation
  • Creasing, or a puckering, of the skin
  • Excess scar tissue buildup
  • Sexual dysfunction

Choosing a Surgeon and Technique

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.