Cosmetic Reduction of the Labia Minora
Excessive Labia Minora
The labia minora (small labia) are folds of mucosal tissue which can become enlarged due to pregnancy, inflammation, or genetically. Ideally, most women prefer to not see their labia minora. So, when these labia become enlarged and hang below the labia majora, they can create a cosmetic problem, both in intimate settings as well as when wearing swimming suits or tight clothing. They can sometimes also create discomfort during intercourse. For these reasons, women are seeking labiaplasty (labia reduction surgery) in greater numbers than ever.
History of Labia Reduction and Current Techniques
The first labioplasty (also called labiaplasty) operations involved amputation of the excessive labia. This led to problems cosmetically (unnatural appearance) as well as functionally: overly tight vaginal opening, irregularities, pigmentary problems, and other problems. As a result, other operations have been developed. The wedge excision became popular because it addressed the problems of irregularities and color issues, but introduced the potential problems of scar contracture (shortening), creating a notch along the free border of the labia minor, as well as breakdown and open wounds. Operations to address these problems have included a modification of the wedge excision, called a z-plasty. In the z-plasty wedge excision, the redundant labia to be excised is zig-zagged in such a way as to avoid unnatural tightening, notching, and wound breakdown. Dr. Vennemeyer and Dr. Loftus consider this to be the most effective way to achieve the goals of labiaplasty while minimizing the risks of this operation.
The images below show before and after examples of labia minora reduction or labiaplasty.
Click here to see more Labiaplasty Before and After Images
Average cost of labioplasty in the US is about $3000-5000, which includes the cost of the surgeon, operating room, and anesthesia. Fees at Loftus Plastic Surgery Center are around $3050. Financing is available through Care Credit.
Labiaplasty: During and After Surgery
Anesthesia: General or sedation.
Location of operation: Office or hospital.
Length of surgery: 30 minutes
Length of stay: Outpatient (home same day).
Discomfort: Mild to moderate. Dr. Vennemeyer and Dr Loftus use long-lasting local anesthetic injections during the procedure so that post-operative discomfort is reduced. Anticipate 2-5 days of prescription pain medication and ice packs.
Swelling: peaks at 1-5 days and improves over 14 days.
Bruising: Is rare
Stitches: Will be absorbable.
Back to work: 3-7 days.
Sex: Wait 6 weeks to ensure complete healing.
Exercise: May be resumed in 2-4 weeks.
Final result: Will be seen after the swelling has resolved, which will be about 2 weeks to 2 months.
Risks of Labioplasty surgery
Dyspareunia due to over tightening of the vaginal opening
Asymmetry – expect it, as all labia are asymmetric
Failure to resolve the problem
Persistent opening of vagina
Tips and Traps of Labiaplasty
- This procedure involves reduction of the labia minora. If your problem is enlarged labia majora, then you need a different procedure. It is generally not advised to combine both procedures at the same time due to swelling and recovery.