The term labiaplasty refers to a procedure that reduces the length of the labia minora. It is the most commonly performed vaginal rejuvenation procedure and it can relieve symptoms women experience from twisting and tugging of the labia.
The goal of the procedure is to reduce the labia minora so that they don’t hang below the hair-bearing labia majora. A labiaplasty may be performed to reduce asymmetry when one is longer than the other, or, more commonly, to reduce the length of both labia so that the labia no longer twist, tug or fall out of a bathing suit. Women opt for surgery for a variety of reasons, including pain from twisting and tugging of the labia when riding a bike or during intercourse, itching, irritation and self-consciousness.
Women with the following symptoms may be appropriate candidates for the procedure:
- An enlarged, misshapen or visually unappealing labia as a result of changes in hormones, pregnancy or poor genes
- Pain or discomfort during intercourse
- Pain or discomfort during normal physical activities like riding a bike
- A poor fit in tight clothing due to the labia’s size
- Discoloration of the labial skin
- Drooping vulvar lips due to reduction in collagen and elastin
- Emotional distress, embarrassment or anxiety over the condition
- Good physical and mental health with no major medical issues
- Realistic expectations for improvement rather than perfection
The most common type of labiaplasty is the trim procedure, in which the extra tissue is removed and sewn up directly. Next in popularity is the wedge procedure, which maintains a natural border after a pie-shaped piece of tissue has been removed. Extra folds of the clitoral hood can also be reduced at the same time. Closure is usually done with absorbable sutures.
Post-surgical swelling and soreness is common for the first 24 hours and is typically easily controlled with ice and cold compresses*. After three days, most patients are able to return to normal activities and most swelling subsides. Full recovery takes about six weeks, during which time intercourse, tampon use, swimming in lakes or oceans, hot tubs and taking baths should be avoided. Some mild soreness may still be present for a few weeks after surgery, which can be controlled with anti-inflammatory medication.
Labiaplasty typically results in shorter labia that no longer hang down below the level of the hair-bearing labia majora. Most patients who experienced symptoms from twisting and tugging of their labia generally find relief after surgery. According to multiple studies, labiaplasty surgery is associated with a high satisfaction rate of over 90 percent.